It’s Throwback Thursday again and I thought I’d resurrect another flash fiction from the archives. I believe this challenge came from a musical prompt. The goal is only to let the music influence the story not dictate specifics. Hope you like the tunes and the tale.
Farther from home
Xander woke with urgent fear following the dream-link from his beautiful wife. She gave him the coordinates of the rescue portal. And that it was the Agency last attempt at his recovery.
Sleep evaded him after that. When morning finally deigned to arrive and his cell was unlocked, he meekly followed the others to the day-room. He’d been cheeking his meds for a week. Everything was brighter, sharper and he’d finally managed to remember the portal’s location. He forced a numb shuffle, trying not to draw attention to himself, as he approached the far windows.
Xander didn’t know how long he’d been institutionalized before the dreams managed to break through. But they’d convinced him to stop the pills. A few days ago, he finally remembered the field stabilizer malfunction that left him combative and disoriented after his last jump. He’d attacked his first contacts. A rookie mistake.
When the authorities took him in, they’d stripped his equipment, sedated him and labeled him psychotic. What else would you do with a man who claimed to be a time traveler?
His original mission long forgotten, his only thought now was to get back home. Standing in the golden light of morning, the scene before him wavered; flashes of purple sparks rimmed the edges of the portal. He could have wept with joy.
“Mr. Doe!” The strident voice echoed off the linoleum.
Damn, he thought, turning slowly as the resident psychiatrist marched up to him. Two orderlies grabbed his arms before he could speak.
“You haven’t been taking your medicine,” she chided, opening her hand to reveal a pile of red-and-white pills.
He forced a smile, “I don’t need them. I’m cured.”
“I’ll be the judge of that.” With a tilt of her head, she motioned the men to remove him.
“No!” Panic swelled.
Her eyes narrowed.
“The day is so beautiful. I’d hate to waste it in your dark office.”
“Take your pills. Then you can stay.”
Desperate and short on time, he whispered, “I can prove I’m not crazy.”
“We’ve been over this.”
“I will be gone before you can blink,” he said, his eyes darting to the portal that flickered in the sun-drenched plate glass.
Suicide is considered a sin here, Mr. Doe.”
“I’m not talking in bloody euphemisms!” he roared, and immediately regretted it as she reached into her pocket and drew out a hypodermic.
“No, please.” He said, eyes wide and his palms up beseeching mercy. He shouldn’t have struggled. One dose and he’d be done.
“This will calm you.”
The portal was already shrinking. The words ‘Agency’s last attempt’ echoed in his mind. “Calm me, my ass; it’s a fucking lobotomy in a syringe!”
“You’re exaggerating again, Mr. Doe.”
The sparks were slowing. Time was almost up.
“You’re right.” He said, slumping heavily against the orderlies who grunted under his full weight.
“That’s better.” She cocked her head with a placating smile.
Suddenly, he thrust forward, finding strength in desperation. Pulling away from the orderlies, he grabbed her and shoved her at them, leaving them in a tangle of limbs as he whirled and leapt for the dwindling portal.
As he tumbled through the rift, his body screamed. His mind stretched to the breaking point. Reality unfolded and then folded itself up again, and he landed with a hard thump on black asphalt with the smell of grease in his nose.
Goddamit, this wasn’t the Portal Lab! Where the hell had they sent him to this time?