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Chapter Twenty Six

August 1, 2014

Yolo, California

"Here's what's going to happen," she says quietly. "We're going to make a lot of noise like there's a scuffle. I'm going to use the gun, partially zap your memories, and then I'm sending you both back to February 1998. But we don't have much time."

I'm sure I've heard her wrong. "What?"

"What?" Nick echoes.

"God," she grumbles. "Don't you get it? I'm under strict orders to clean this up. Wiping Josh's memory and sending him out wasn't a big issue. He was a pain in my ass. Always has been. But you, Court..."

Her tone has changed. This is the Kal who practically cried when she announced my departure the first time. This was my friend.

"There's no cameras in here. I prayed you'd have enough sense to trap yourselves into a supply room."

"Wait." One of Nick's hands leaves my back and I imagine he's waving it in the air. "Are you a good guy or a bad guy?"

"That all depends."

"On what?"

"Your potential to hurt her."


"So I've heard."


"Court has a chip implanted in her. Which reminds me, I have to take that sucker out. Lemme see your neck."

"Are you kidding? No way!"

Suddenly, a light flicks on. Kal sets her iPhone down on an overturned bucket. She looks at me, her eyes more serious than I have ever seen them before. Considering the number of tense experiments we've worked together on, this ranks in the life or death category.

"If I don't get the chip they will track you down and you'll be housed at Roswell."

"With the aliens?" Nick asks, excited. He has obviously forgotten the situation we're currently in. Kal ignores him. "Your neck."

Nick grabs me, but I lean forward. My trust is still in a sense of confliction, but I figure our options are limited. The only way to see if she is telling the truth is to literally stick my neck out.

She moves quickly. I suck in a breath as a needle jabs my skin and for the first time I feel a tiny little object slide up.

"Got it."

I stand up straight and she holds out the needle. I take it, moving it close to her phone light and examine the little chip.

"I de-chipped myself last night," she says shakily. "Now go back against the wall. I have to zap you."

I take two steps back, tensing as she lifts the gun. Nick shakes his head. "No way."

"I just need to scramble a few things," Kal says impatiently. "Think about it. What would you do come 9/11? Just sit back? And if you interfere, you'll spend your entire life in some federal place like this crap hole. Court, trust me. I need to make it so you remember nothing of this. Nothing of me..."

"What will they do when they realize you let us escape? What happens to you?"

She actually smiles. "You might see me again someday. I have my own plans."

"But Courtney goes with me?" Nick clarifies.

"She goes with you. I keep the travel device."

"Then how do we get back?" I ask.

"Unbeknownst to Josh, I've played around a little. The memory gun is my invention. I can channel the energy of the time travel device by playing on the light spectrum. Most of this world's problems could be solved with light. I'll wipe partial memories and send you back all at once. Your blood tests showed that your longevity factor actually increased by traveling. You get an extra 15 years. You get a total do-over."

She can't mask her jealousy. "Then come with us," I beg.

Kal shakes her head. "Not my plan," she smiles. Her eyes move to Nick. Nick's jaw is firm. "You ready?"

Behind her, a big meaty paw resonates a knock that vibrates the closet.

"Dr. Strimble?"

"I don't think-"

"Do it," I burst.

"You just need to do one thing," she pauses. "Knock over some of those buckets and scream. I'll do the rest."

Nick sends a heavy sneaker into the cabinet behind us. Three buckets roll off the end of the shelf. I close my eyes and scream. I'm still not sure whether this is some form of her own personal entertainment before she kills us. I am drenched with sweat.

If she says anything, I do not hear. The door flies open just as a flash of light brighter than I have ever seen before passes my eyes. I feel like I am splitting into a million tiny weightless pieces at the same time my brain feels like sand-filled weights.

I'm convinced that I will spend eternity in a fractured limbo.

But then I hear it...

I'll be your dream
I'll be your wish I'll be your fantasy
I'll be your hope I'll be your love
Be everything that you need