The sun rose over the elms and maples, the clouds turning the dark purple and orange that signals a beautiful day to come. The dew hung in the air, turning the air grey and thick with moisture. The trunks and limbs of the massive trees sliced through the ghostly light. It promised to be a hot day, though it was only the beginning of April. The baby birds began their frantic chirping, announcing to their mothers that they were ready to eat now. Mother birds flitted here and there, pecking at the earth to find the early morning worms or picking the crickets out of the air as they attempted to escape becoming an offering on the breakfast menu.
Dew glittered like diamonds on the dark green, perfectly kept grass. Frogs croaked out their territorial warnings in the large pond as they woke and claimed their respective lily pad. The snapdragons and petunias that grew wild in haphazard patches at the water’s edge seemed to droop a little under the weight of the weather they weren’t expecting.
William McKay walked slowly up the path that lead away from his home, the white gravel crunching under his soft and worn leather boots. He inhaled deeply as a warm breeze blew the smell of spring in his face, ruffling slightly the shirttails that he kept untucked. He pushed the sleeves of his fresh, white cotton tunic up his bare, sinewy forearms and listened to the songs of nature all around him. A peace began to go through him as he was able to forget for just a moment where his feet were taking him. Running his hand through his tousled black hair and closing his eyes, he turned his face toward the heat of the sun.
The walk he was on seemed to take forever and yet he was at the end in no time at all. He reached his destination and as if his body had taken complete control of itself, his feet stopped at the edge of the path, unwilling to step off the lane and onto the thinning grass. Pausing at the small fence, William put his hand carefully on the little wooden gate and gazed intently into the little graveyard. This was the place where his family had been buried for generations. He scanned all of the headstones. Some were large, like the grand and ornate veined marble one with the beveled edges and the deeply carved letters signifying where his grandfather was resting; some small, like the plain brown slab that showed where his mother was placed after she died giving birth to him.
His gaze wandered slowly and absently to the far corner, across from those of his grandfather and mother. There his eyes locked on one special little stone. It too was made of marble, small and square and not nearly as elaborate as his grandfather’s, and not nearly as fancily decorated. The mound of dirt was still brown and fresh, the grave so new that there was not even the slightest hint of grass beginning to grow again. The gleaming white stone bearing the names of his wife and young son, carved and chiseled by his own hand. They were buried together, one casket for them both. Together was where they belonged, and William was determined they would be that way for eternity.
He pushed at the gate, kicking it gently with the toe of his boot to get it to give way. It hung at a strange angle and bobbed when he took back his hand, and he made a mental note to work on repairing that gate, straightening it and refastening the hinges so that it swung open properly. This was a place of reverence that deserved to be kept right. When he was younger, it was just a place that his father made him go to mourn for people he never knew. But now the people he loved most were there. It would be kept properly, and would look respectable. Anyone who came to visit his home would know that important people were buried here, and that they were loved.
My life couldn’t be more complete. As we reached the apartments, I slowly got off the bike, surprised at myself that I had done this. Ordinarily, I’d never get on a motorcycle. James leaned over and caressed my cheek. Before I could open my mouth to tell him what was to happen to him, he gave me a quick peck on the lips. I couldn’t let James walk away, not now.
Something in me grasped his wrist; my breath caught in my throat. I no longer cared about the rain. I must have looked like a drowned rat to him. “I have to tell you something,” I blurted as I waited for his reaction.
James smiled, then chuckled as he caressed my face. The rain was preventing me from seeing clearly. “Sweetheart, it’s raining and you’re soaked. I hope this is important.” Pulling him toward me, I faced him. I could change history. I could have him live out his life as he was meant to. If I couldn’t save my father, I could save him.
“In the future, when you become famous, please be careful. Remember this: there will be a day that you are off to a race. You will not see a car until it’s too late. James, please promise me. It could mean your life.” I must have sounded like a complete and total idiot to him. Geez! I think I watched Back To The Future too many times. I sounded like Marty talking to the professor about his impending death.
Chuckling, he shook his head, expelling the rain off his head and onto me. Laughter erupted between us as I covered my face. He then cupped my face, kissed my forehead. “Are you sure you’re not an angel? I cannot promise anything, but baby, I can promise I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ll pick you up here and you can ditch your responsibilities. Ride with me.”
Sighing, now I knew how all those girls felt when they looked at him. What an offer that would be. Ditch school to ride with the man who was loved by so many. I was determined he’d listen to me. Gripping his hands from my face, I gazed into his eyes. “I’m serious!”
Before I could utter another word, his lips descended on mine. My body went toward him and melted. I couldn’t help but respond as I brought him closer. I was lost in his warm lips as they caressed mine. Lingering near my lips, he breathed, “I know you are.” Then, winking as he kissed me again, smiling that beautiful smile of his, “How else can my angel guard me if she isn’t with me?”
Hours later, a huge crash woke her up and she found herself sitting straight up in her bed. Moving the hair away from her face, she slowly crawled out of bed slowly and tip toed to the door. Before she opened the door, she grabbed the wooden bat gripping it firmly as she opened the door. Cursing under her breath as she hears the door creaking. Seeing a huge shadow in her living room, readying the bat in her hands Sarah swings it. Instead it slips her hands flying across the living room with a resounding ding.
“Grenade!” James shouted as he ducked hoping that his helmet and the object in front of him protected him. He looked again in the dark, why does this object look like a sofa. He huddles down to the ground and waits, but nothing happens. Slowly holding onto his helmet, he gets on his hands and knees only to be confronted by yellow eyes and a wet nose. It swipes and hisses at him, a cat! James falls back and hits a table, knocking a lamp into the floor. He turns around and sees it in pieces.
Cursing under her breath and no time to call the cops, Sarah charged at him in full speed. Jumping on him and punching him in the face. “Who the hell are you and why are you in my home?” Sarah yelled at the tops of her lungs. Blinking, James took a second after the punch to recover to look at his attacker. Who was this woman and where was he?
Grabbing her hands and holding back from his face, “I was fighting Nazis five minutes ago and now I’m. Where the hell am I lady?”
“You are in New York and how would you be fighting Nazi’s? It’s 2013 and I know Nazi’s still exist but not in the form you’re talking about. You got the wrong house buddy, so I suggest you get up and leave,” Sarah said getting up and walking away from him to compose herself. Why did he look so familiar? She found a good lamp, praying that it would turn on and it did. She could see this man a bit better. He looked like someone who came out of a convention.
James composing himself the best he could, stood up and could see all around him. He went from the battlefield and suddenly was in a place that looked like something out of one of those science fiction books he read. “This is some kind of joke,” he said standing up and looking around him, in a trance like he was in a dream. “This is all a dream and I’m going to wake up.”