"The Untaken Path"
Gillian Lazear sat comfortably in her favorite chair. It had been a tiring day and she was finally free to relax. Sitting next to her chair was the book that she had been reading. She picked it up, thumbed to her bookmark and began reading. Looking up from her book she spoke, "Yes, it is an amazing story." The room became silent again. She stared towards the wall and spoke, “Thank you. It was a very rough day. How about some dinner?” Silence filled the room once again before Gillian spoke. “Let me see what I can come up with.”|
“You’re too good to me.” Gillian smiled. “I know, but you make it so much easier. When I think about my life before you, I want to cry.”
The tears slowly fell from her face. “I’m sorry I shouldn’t let it get to me, after all, I’m not in your position.” Gillian wiped the tears away from her eyes and spoke, “I know how much it hurts you to not be able to wipe these away yourself, but I realize how much you care about me . . . someday it won’t be like this. Come on, let’s get some sleep, we’ll both feel better.”
“What is it?” Gillian sat up in her bed. She had been startled awake and now she needed answers. “They’re coming? Are you sure?” She slowly lifted herself out of bed and spoke, “Then this is what we’ve been waiting for. I’ll need to make a few calls, so we’ll be ready.” Gillian walked towards the door. She stopped, turned and spoke, “What? No I’m fine, just need a few minutes to take all this in. I’m okay, I promise.” She had almost made it through the door when she stopped and spoke, “I love you too.”
Gillian’s mind was filled with doubts. Was this what she wanted? What if they returned but couldn’t help him? or if he left with them? After all this wasn’t his home, not if you wanted to get technical about it. No, she loved him and he loved her. There was her answer.
“Are you sure this is where they will land?” Gillian asked. As if on some cue, reality seemed to fold in on itself and a bluish distortion appeared. Four figures where thrown from it, and as the distortion closed and they began to rise to their feet Gillian spoke, “You’re really here!”
“Miss Lazear! It is wonderful to see you again.” The boisterous voice of Professor Maximilian Arturo rang out.
“Gillian, girl, a day hasn’t gone by that we haven’t thought of you two.” Rembrandt “Cryin’ Man” Brown placed his hand on Gillian’s shoulder. “Is he okay?”
“He’s fine Remmy. He says ‘it’s great to see you’ and hopes you’ll see him soon.”
“And that’s where I come in.” This man was unfamiliar.
“I’m sorry, he’s bad about forgetting to introduce himself. This is Dexter Thomas, my husband and one of the most brilliant minds on his world.” Wade said as she hugged Gillian.
“You’re married?” Gillian asked.
“Nearly a year now. We met Dex a few slides after this one. It was love at first sight.”
Dex smiled, “The way she tells it, She leaves out the part where we were all nearly killed, but that’s my wife.”
“Mr. Thomas, if you would activate the beam.” Arturo’s voice was firm.
Dexter attached a small device to the timer; he turned the dial and a red beam emitted from it. The beam coalesced into a portal, very similar to the vortex. A figure drew closer, until finally that figure was thrown from the portal.
Gillian rushed to his side, “Quinn?”
The figure raised up enough to be revealed as Quinn Mallory. “Gill . . . I . . .. Can . . .touch . . . .you.” With those words Quinn passed out.
“It worked!” Dex screamed.
“But he is horribly weak. I had assumed being on the astral plane for four years would have an adverse affect on his body. He needs rest.” Arturo said.
“Let’s get him back home then.”
Quinn awoke with Gillian by his side. “I’m free?”
“Yes, Quinn you’re free.” Gillian grabbed Quinn’s hand and slowly moved closer to him. She leaned in and kissed him.
“I don’t mean to interrupt.” A voice came from behind them.
Quinn’s voice was groggy, “It’s okay Professor. What is it?”
“Just checking on you lad. We have much to discuss once you are rested.”
“What do you mean?” Gillian asked.
“Well, Mr. Thomas has made some remarkable advancements to the timer. That is one of the ways we were able to come back here. He enabled the timer to backtrack our photon trails from previous worlds, no matter how faint they may be.”
Quinn’s eyes widened, “That would mean . . .”
“Yes my boy, we can go home. Actually we’ve already been there. It was where we perfected the device that allowed us to free you from the astral plane, but we have the coordinates to home stored. As soon as the timer is recharged we’ll be able to go.”
Quinn looked puzzled, “Recharged? What about the window?”
“Many things have changed in the last four years Quinn. ‘Sliding’ is only one of them. I’ll leave you two alone, you deserve some time together.”
Arturo left the room and Gillian spoke, “I guess this means you’re going home.”
“I’m not going anywhere without you. Come with me.” Quinn replied.
Gillian smiled, “Are you sure? Is this what you want?”
“Gill, I couldn’t live without you while I was trapped on the astral plane, I can’t live without you now that I’m ‘alive’ again. Come with me.”
She wrapped her arms around Quinn and spoke, “Without you, there’s nothing for me here.” She smirked, “So do you think your mother will like me?”
Quinn laughed, “She’ll love you.”
Dexter held the timer in his hand and punched a few buttons.
“Is that still ‘my’ timer?” Quinn asked.
“A few modifications and a couple of different parts, but it’s the original. I have to say Quinn, this little thing here was pure genius. Are we ready?”
“Open that wormhole, I’ve got a gig Friday at Madison Square Gardens!” Remmy grinned from ear to ear.
“What?” Quinn asked.
“Let’s just say ‘The Cryin Man’ has returned! I’ll get you and Gillian good seats to my next show in San Francisco.”
Dexter raised the timer and reality distorted into a cylindrical, blue vortex. Wade was the first in followed by Arturo, Dexter and Rembrandt.
Quinn looked at Gillian and spoke, “Remember something, Gill. Regardless of everything, I wouldn’t change a thing about the last four years.”
Gillian tried to hold back the tears as she grabbed Quinn’s hand. With their hands linked, they dove into the vortex and headed . . . home.