The dark-headed outlaw found himself hunkered down over the back of a horse moving at a fast gallop. He had no idea where he was or what was happening. He looked to his left but could not see Kid anywhere. He quickly glanced towards his right, but Kid was not riding beside him. He was bewildered, as they always rode together. Where could he be? What was happening?
His horse continued to thunder forward, when suddenly Heyes felt a sharp, burning sensation starting between his shoulder blades, traveling through to his chest. He found he was not able to maintain his grasp on the saddle and felt himself slipping off, falling towards the ground.
Heyes set bolt upright from his blanket, drenched in sweat. The night air was cool, causing him to shiver. The fire had burned down to embers, and with no moon visible, the night was very dark. He was barely able to make out the sleeping form of his partner and friend Kid Curry. Heyes wiped his face with his hands, and wrapped the blanket more tightly around himself. This same dream he had had several times over the last month. It always ended the same. And the meaning, he had no idea. He just hoped that he never hit the ground, because he was afraid if he did, it might truly be his death.
Heyes was up early the next morning, having rekindled the fire and started breakfast by the time Kid awoke.
“You’re up early,” Kid said, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He glanced at Heyes and noticed that he looked drawn and tired, not an unusual look for Heyes recently. He had tried to talk to him about it, but Heyes had only shrugged away Kid’s concern, not talking about what was bothering him. Heyes was like that, and Kid sometimes wished he had a way of getting past that wall that he managed to erect around himself at times.
“Wanted to get an early start,” replied Heyes, handing Kid a cup of coffee. What Heyes didn’t say was that he had been awake most of the night, being afraid to go back to sleep, for fear the dream would return. But he wasn’t fooling Kid.
“So where do we head today?”
Heyes thought. “You think we should head down to Mac’s place, see if he can come up with anything for us?”
Kid replied, “Sure, might as well. How about heading into Apache Springs and telegraphing him, so he will be ready?”
Heyes nodded his head, “Sounds good to me.”
Kid took the plate of food that Heyes passed to him. After finishing breakfast, he sat drinking his coffee. Looking at Heyes, he tried to again broach the reason Heyes had been so jumpy lately. “Heyes, do you want to tell me what’s wrong?”
Heyes stared into his cup. “Nothing’s wrong.”
“Heyes, you are tired, you look like you are not getting any sleep, you are grumpy, and you jump at shadows. What’s wrong?”
Heyes continued to stare into his cup, refusing to answer. Kid knew to push the issue was pointless, so busied himself with cleaning the remains of the meal. Heyes would talk when he was ready. He hoped.
Midday found them several miles down the road. They had telegraphed Big Mac, who informed them he had no work for them at the present time. So they had decided to just wander around until they stumbled across some work. The day was warm, the sun bright and shining, so they were content to just amble down the road. Conversation was nil since this morning, with Heyes lost in his own thoughts.
Kid was enjoying the afternoon when all of a sudden he realized Heyes was no longer riding beside him. He glanced around to see Heyes sitting atop his horse, hand on the butt of his gun, looking into the woods. Kid pivoted his horse around and rode to where Heyes sat.
Heyes continued to look into the woods. “I saw someone.”
Kid looked into the woods too, but could not see anyone. “Where?”
“In there,” Heyes said, indicating the direction he was looking.
“Who did you see?” Kid continued to look but still couldn’t see anyone.
“I’m not sure, it was a woman, I think.”
Kid looked at his friend and frowned. “A woman? In there?”
“Heyes,” he shook his head, “What would a woman be doing all alone, in the woods, way out here?”
“I don’t know Kid, but I saw her.” Heyes continued to try to find the woman from his vantage point.
“Come on Heyes, let’s go.” And Kid turned his horse away and started back down the road. Heyes hesitated for a few more seconds, than turned his horse to join Kid. He glanced back once, but didn’t see anyone. He should have turned around other time.
Several nights later, they sat around the campfire, having finished supper and preparing for the night. The past several days they had been helping at a ranch building fences. The job had ended, but neither was sorry, as this hard of work neither one enjoyed. Being tired, through unspoken communication, they decided to turn in early. Kid checked to see that his gun was loaded and ready, not that it ever wasn’t, placed it within easy reach, then turned his back to the fire and went to sleep. Heyes sat up a little while longer, than wrapped himself in his own blanket, putting his back to the fire and Kid, was finally able to fall to sleep.
He found himself on the back of a galloping horse, unable to find Kid, running from something he could not see or understand. He felt a sharp, burning sensation between his shoulder blades, spreading through to his chest. He could not hold on to the saddle and felt himself falling off the side of the horse, falling towards the ground.
Heyes sat up from his bedroll, in a cold sweat, heart pounding, breathing rapidly. He was having the same dream more frequently now, almost every night. And the after effects were lasting longer. Heyes was finding it harder to get to sleep and was not able to sleep afterwards. His breathing slowly returned to normal but the fear he was feeling remained with him. Kicking up the fire, he sat up the remainder of the night, listening to Kid snore, and trying to figure out the meaning of a dream which seemed to have no meaning.
Early morning found this pair plodding along, looking for any signs of potential work. They had passed a sign for a town, but Heyes was reluctant to go into town, so they bypassed it, heading on down the road. Heyes was glancing around when an image caught his eye, the image of a woman darting behind a tree. He whirled his horse around and chased after the elusive figure. Kid heard the pounding of hooves and turned to see Heyes racing into the forest. He too turned his horse around and followed after Heyes.
Heyes slowed his horse when the forest became too dense to be able to move through at such a speed. He could see glimpses of a figure, but was unable to find it. He sat atop his horse looking around, but could not decide where to continue looking. He heard Kid ride up beside him, and looked in his direction. He could see the questions in Kid’s eyes, but he had no idea how to answer him.
“What’s going on Heyes?”
Heyes shook his head. “I saw someone, a woman.”
Kid shook his head. “Heyes, talk to me.”
“Kid, I know it sounds strange, but I saw a woman, and she was darting between the trees. I saw her.” He glanced again around the forest then returned his gaze to Kid’s face. He saw the look of disbelief in Kid’s eyes.”
“I did. Trust me.”
Kid looked directly into Heyes’ eyes, but saw only uncertainty. “Heyes, I’m starting to worry about you.”
“Kid, I’m starting to worry about me too.”
That evening they sat around the fire, each lost in his own thoughts. Kid was concerned that there might be something wrong with Heyes. He had been acting very crazy lately, and he didn't know what to do about it. Looking over to where Heyes sat, Kid watched his movements. His eyes were constantly moving around, looking behind him and all around him, as if he was looking for someone.
“Heyes, please, talk to me. What is wrong?”
Heyes ceased his searching to meet Kid’s eyes. How do you tell your best friend that you are afraid you are going to die? He shook his head. He didn’t know how to do that, so he said nothing.
“Heyes, if you can’t trust me, well maybe we shouldn’t be riding together. Maybe we need to split up and go our own separate ways.” And he turned away from Heyes, effectively ending his decision.
Heyes watched Kid’s back for a long time, intermittently searching around. He knew he wouldn’t sleep, but stretched out anyway, placing his hands behind his head. Was he going crazy? Kid acted like that was a possibility. And it could be. He had been seeing things which weren’t there, and hearing things which weren’t there. What other answer could there be? He remember, growing up, there was a time when one of the neighbors went crazy. He had developed a wild look in his eyes, didn’t shave or bathe, and stopped showing any interest in life in general. They ended up taking him away. When he had asked his mother about the incident, she said that sometimes the mind takes control, and when that happens, it is like you are a different person living in your own body. That man died without ever getting better. Heyes shivered at the thought, and uncrossing his arms, wrapped himself in his blanket, as if to ward off this happening. He closed his eyes, and eventually went to sleep.
He heard a noise, but from where he had no idea. Quietly he stood, glancing at Kid, who remained asleep. He heard the noise again, and rising, slipped into the woods, following the sound. Gun in hand, he thought he was ready for anything. Little did he realize how his life was going to take a completely different path.
Heyes slipped quietly through the trees, looking around him in search of the sound. The moon was full, bright, and glowing. The sound continued, and he followed it into a clearing, where he was brought to a complete stop. There, sitting on a fallen log, was the image he had been chasing for the last few days. She had dark hair, pulled back at this time. He looked at her face, but saw no fear, even though he had his gun pointed right at her. He took a quick look at the rest of her, and unaware let the gun tilt downwards. She was wearing a silver colored outfit, pants, and the top seemed to be attached to the pants, as no shirttail was visible. White shoes of a kind he had never seen were on her feet. She had no weapons in her hands. He brought his eyes back up to meet hers, when she spoke for the first time.
“Hannibal, please have a seat,” indicating a portion of the log.
Heyes was never addressed by his first name, not since his mother had died. How did she know him? He eased himself over to the log and sat down, keeping his gun pointed in her direction.
“You don’t need that,” she said, indicating the gun.
“Well, I plan to keep it where it is, if you don’t mind.”
“Suit yourself, but we need to talk, and time’s a wastin’”
“Huh?” Heyes couldn’t understand her kind of talk.
“Sorry. I only have so much time, so let’s get down to business.”
Heyes looked around, and she sensed what he was looking for. “No, there isn’t anyone else, I am alone.”
“How can I believe you?”
“Because I know you very well, and know that Kid is asleep over there,” pointing back the direction that Heyes had come. “I don’t want to hurt you, I want to help you.”
“Help me do what?”
She looked at him and without blinking said, “Save your life.”
Heyes stood up and paced away from her. “What are you talking about?”
“Hannibal, this is going to be hard to understand, but I am your great-great-great granddaughter. My name is Jessie.”
Heyes stopped his pacing and squared himself to face her. “The only family I have is one cousin, and he is asleep.”
She looked down, than up again. “Hannibal, please sit down.”
“How do you know my name?”
“Because I know everything there is to know about you. About your life. About you being an outlaw. Your amnesty. Your life.”
“Lady, no one knows that much about me.” Heyes was back to pacing again, not remembering to keep the gun pointed in her direction.
“Hannibal, I have studied your life since I was old enough to read. My grandfather told me everything there was about you and Kid. I have read every book I could, scanned every article every written where you name was mentioned.”
This brought him up short. “Dime novels?”
She shook her head. “No, encyclopedias. Biographies. History books.”
Heyes was very confused and looked at her with a blank look in his eyes.
“Hannibal, I am from the future.”
Heyes felt the air leave his lungs and the world around him start to spin. The future? What was she talking about? Was she crazy? Or was he?
She stood and walked to where he was, leading him over to the log. After making sure he was still conscious, she proceeded to tell him her story.
“Hannibal, I know this is hard to believe, but I am from the future, 120 years in the future. I am from the year 2005. And you are my great-great-great grandfather.”
Heyes shook his head, trying to see if he had heard her correctly. “2005?”
She nodded. “I know it all sounds strange, but it is true. I came back here to take you forward with me until I can find out….” She let the rest of her sentence fade out.
“Find out what?”
She met his eyes. “Who killed you.”
She could tell that he didn’t know whether to believe her or not, and her time was running out. She stood, and taking his hand in hers, pulled him up off the log. “Follow me,” she said, and led him to a dense section of trees. Than she turned back around and looked at him. He was still in a state of shock.
“I need you to close your eyes and allow me to lead you.”
She pointed towards the dense section of trees. “There. It is a portal to my time.”
Heyes frowned and shook his head. “A portal? What is that?”
“I will explain it all to you shortly, but first we have to get moving. Trust me?”
Heyes didn’t know what to think, or do. But his dream kept coming back to him, mixed with the last words Kid had said to him, about going separate ways. What did he have to lose?
He nodded his head and closed his eyes. She started to pull him forward, when he suddenly pulled away and opened his eyes again. “What about Kid?”
“Kid is fine. He will be there when we get back, he won’t even have realized that you have been gone.”
“Will you come on….” And she pulled him into the forest.
He looked around at the room, dark except for a small amount of light coming from along the wall. Must be a new kind of candle he thought. She was walking around checking doors until she was satisfied they were alone.
“Where are we?” asked Heyes.
“My father’s lab. We have to go now.”
“Where are we going?” Heyes wasn’t sure he was ready for all of this.
“We will go to my place. I will explain everything to you there. Just remember, say nothing, do nothing except what I tell you to do, and don’t touch anything. Got it?”
Heyes nodded his head and started to follow her out of the room. She quickly turned around and pointed to his gun. “And keep that thing in its holster. Button your coat and leave it that way. People don’t walk around with guns on their hips in this day and age.”
Heyes followed her outside, but was not prepared for what he saw. Strange looking machines were lined up outside, and there were bright lights glowing everywhere. He kept looking around and not moving, until she had to return to drag him inside on of the vehicles. She put a key into the ignition and started her truck, which caused Heyes to jump, unsure of what had happened.
“It’s ok, Hannibal. This is my truck and I am going to drive us home. I will explain to you there.”
Heyes just sat there looking around, too shocked to say anything. She reached down and turned on the radio, causing another round of explanations. Heyes decided he didn’t like this new place at all. And where were all the horses?
Twenty minutes later they pulled up in front of her house. She quickly ushered him inside and shut the door. Heyes was looking for a lantern to light when she turned on the switch and bright lights flooded the room. Inside there were too many things which he didn’t understand. He was starting to develop a big headache.
She led him to the sofa, and checking that all the blinds and drapes were closed started her explanation.
“Take off your coat. This will take a while.” Heyes slowly removed his coat and hat, but left his holster where it was. He was not going to be without protection should anything happen.
“My father, Joshua Heyes, invented something called time travel. With it, a person has the ability to go forward or backwards in time, to see what the world was like, or will be like.”
Heyes frowned, “Why would you want to do that?”
“To learn. From past mistakes, to help correct them in the future. To see if things will be better in the future, and if not to try to make them better by correcting the problems.”
Heyes nodded. That made sense, in theory.
“How do you do it?”
“Through something called a time portal. A portal is a path to the other world. Portals are special places, and can go either direction. They are usually hidden unless you know where to look. And we use devices to open portals, such as this.” She reached up to her neck and pulled out her necklace, and for the first time Heyes could see a small, round object. She opened the object which allowed him to see some brightly colored dials. She closed the object and returned it to its place underneath her shirt.
“So what does this all have to do with me?”
She leaned back. “From the time I was little, I heard the stories of Hannibal Heyes and his partner Kid Curry. All the adventures. Everything written about you I read. I studied your robberies, followed your path to amnesty, everything.”
“So we get our amnesty?” This intrigued Heyes.
She nodded, but was somber. “You did, in the past.”
Heyes frowned and shook his head, “In the past?”
“I have made it my hobby to follow your life and exploits. Every few days I try to find new material about you. A few days ago I noticed that some things had changed, but didn’t think too much about it. Until…..” she stopped.
“Until one day I read your obituary. And it had changed.”
“I don’t understand.” Heyes stood and started to pace. This was getting too weird. What was going on and where was he?
“Hannibal, sit down.” He walked over towards her and retook his seat, placing his elbows on his knees, and making contact with her eyes. He didn’t like what he saw there.
“Hannibal, when I was growing up I lived to hear about the adventures you and Kid were involved in. My grandfather told me about your life as my bedtime stories. I know when you were born, when you died, your children, when you obtained you amnesty, everything.”
Heyes was so confused and it showed in his face.
“Hannibal, you and Kid received your amnesty. You did well as free men. You both married, bought ranches close together, raised your families together. And you, you died a very old man, in your own bed, surrounded by your family. You had a wonderful life, one you were very proud of. You made up so many times for the wrong things that you did.”
“So what am I doing here than? If things worked out well, what am I doing here, in this place that I don’t understand?”
She decided what she needed to do was show him, so she stood and walked over to her computer, moving the mouse to brighten the screen. Heyes followed her, amazement showing.
“It’s called a computer. Electrical gadget that allows you access to information along the internet……like a very, very large library.” She was typing as she spoke. When she found what she was looking for, she pointed to it for Heyes to see.
She had logged onto a sight where famous outlaws were located. And she had found Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, information regarding their careers, life and death. She pointed to what she wanted Heyes to see. The date of his death.
“A few days ago I came here, to see if anything new had been added. What had changed was the date of your death. Hannibal, this is one week from now, your time. Something happened, time changed, and instead of living to be an old man, you die. Shot in the back, riding on your horse, running from something.”
Heyes went pale and sat down hard on the floor. The dream, the one that he kept having.
She looked at him, and turned towards him. “Are you all right?”
“No, I’m not. I keep having this dream where I am on a horse, running from someone, and I am shot and falling from my horse, only I never hit the ground, I always wake up first.”
“Hmmm. That’s strange. Anyway, according to this you are shot in the back, and because you are still wanted, nothing is done. Kid is so upset that he heads back to Devil’s Hole and back to the only other life he knows. He rejoins the gang, and is killed in a robbery attempt the next month.”
“See, none of this is suppose to happen. Someone changed time.”
“How can that be?” Heyes didn’t like this world at all, he wanted to go home. But he realized that going home now would mean Kid’s death, and that he didn’t want to happen. So he had better listen and try to figure this out.
“One of the most elementary rules regarding time travel is to not disturb anything in the past, because it has a ripple effect on the future.”
“But what about you coming back for me, won’t that cause problems?”
“That was a chance I had to take. I have been watching you, to see what was going on. Thought I might be able to fix things without having to talk to you, but it just wasn’t working out. Also, I needed to see how much time elapsed between an event happening and it changing things in this world”
Heyes looked up at her. “Than I did see someone those times, I saw you.”
She nodded, “Yes, that was me. I tried to keep out of sight, but you have too good of vision.”
“Boy, at least I wasn’t going crazy, at least I don’t think so.”
“You are not crazy. But what is happening is. And we need to get it straightened back out, and quickly. You only have a week to correct this, or else it is too late for all of us.”
“What do you mean?”
She took a deep breath before continuing. “If you die in one week, than everyone that followed you won’t be born. Not my father or grandfather, not even me.”
“I see.” It was starting to make sense, sorta.
“And I think I know what is going on.”
“Tell me.” Heyes was eager for this answer.
“Time travel was invented by my father in his lab. He had several assistants, including one Jason Bilson. I never liked Jason, but my father saw good in everyone, so kept him on. Jason liked to claim he was the one to invent time travel, even though it wasn’t true. Dad was so insistent on people being careful. Jason wasn’t. He often messed up and Dad would have to go back again and correct the screw up. Jason didn’t like that.”
“Where is you father now?”
“Dad died a year ago. Had a heart attack. I think brought on by too much stress in the lab. Too much having to clean up Jason’s messes, too many hours in the lab and not with his family.”
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you, but right now I am concerned about you.”
“So what do you think is happening?”
She leaned forward, placing her elbows on her knees, a duplication of the way Heyes was sitting. Neither realized it.
“I think Jason is the one messing things up. If he kills you, than Dad won’t ever be born. He thinks he can invent the time travel portals and time travel by himself, which he can’t. But he is so very sure of himself, always smiling, thinks he knows everything. I just can’t stand him.”
Heyes smiled, sounded like someone else he knew.
“So what are we going to do about this?”
She shook her head. “Some how we have to figure out just exactly when this is going to happen and how, and prevent it from occurring. That is the hard part.”
“What do you mean?”
She took in a deep breath and slowly let it back out. “When we bring people forward in time, which doesn’t happen very often, we eliminate the memory of what they see here from their minds, else it will effect their future. But with you, we are not going to be able to do that. You will need to remember what is going to happen and when, to prevent it from happening. But in doing so, you will remember all of this too. And that can be bad for you.”
It was all starting to come together now for Heyes. He could understand her problem, which was also his problem. Guess he would have to come up with a scheme to help her solve both their problems.
Jessie found some blankets and a pillow and made a bed on the couch for Heyes. She showed him how to turn off the light, so he could sleep when he was ready. She had already spent a long time explaining to him about indoor plumbing, that was fun. Saying goodnight, she went to her own room.
Heyes sat up for a long time thinking about all the things that Jessie had said. All the things which were going to change if they didn’t get this problem corrected. He didn’t want to think of Kid dying, that was something he just couldn’t deal with right now. He finally took off his gunbelt and stretched out on the sofa. And for the first time in so many days, the dream didn’t return to interrupt his sleep.
Jessie was up early the next morning, checking on details on the internet. She had coffee making, and it was this smell which woke Heyes.
“Good morning Hannibal, did you sleep well?”
Heyes stretched after sitting up. “Fine. Can I ask you something?”
“Why do you call me by my first name? Everyone else calls me Heyes.”
She smiled. “Yeah, I guess that does sound funny, but it is hard calling someone by the name that others usually call me.”
Heyes looked blankly at her.
She turned slightly in her chair so she could face him. “My father always wanted a boy, but instead got me. Guess that is why I have a boy’s name. My mom died when I was a kid, so I never got to know her. My Dad started calling me Heyes when I was a kid and the name stuck. So I can’t hardly call you Heyes, would be too much like I was talking to myself. And that I do enough as it is.”
Heyes walked over to where Jessie was working on the computer. “Anything new?”
She nodded. “Actually, yes. It says here that on this day in your time, you and Kid split up and traveled for a short time apart. Says Kid was headed back to find you when he saw you shot. Traveled to Devil’s Hole from there.”
She turned towards him. “So now I have to figure out just where Jason heads to when he goes back.”
“And when you figure that out, what?”
“If we know where the incident happens, you can avoid going there, avoid separating from Kid, and stay alive.”
Heyes thought about Kid, and hoped he was fine this morning.
Heyes looked around and marveled at the items he saw. Kid just wouldn’t believe this. Heck, even he didn’t believe it. He walked around, lightly touching each object. Until Jessie called him back over to where she was sitting.
“Hannibal, we need to have a plan. If we can figure out when Jason goes back, we can destroy his entry to the portal and keep him back in time. I plan to look through the office and bring home all copies of the time machine, including those on his computer.”
Heyes thought for a minute. “OK, just how are we going to do that?”
Just then, Jessie’s phone rang. Heyes jumped at the sound, and Jessie laughed, pushing the talk button. “Hello.”
“Jessie, this is Bob. We need for you to come into the office right away.”
“What’s up Bob? Today is my day off and I have plans.”
‘I know, and I am sorry, but no one can find Jason, and there are some things not quite right here. Can you come?”
Jessie thought a moment. “Sure, be there as soon as I can.”
She pushed the off button and turned towards Heyes. “They can’t find Jason, so my bet is he has gone back in time, planning his little adventure. He always messes things up when he does that.”
“So what are we going to do?”
“We are going to the office. I don’t dare leave you here, so you will come with me. Let me find you something to wear and I’ll be right back.” She walked into her bedroom, and came out with a blue shirt in her hand, handing it to Heyes.
Heyes took the shirt and looked at it, not understanding what he saw in his hands. This was indeed a strange world. He looked up, a question in his eyes.
“It’s called a polo shirt, and no I don’t know why. Just take off your shirts and put it on. You will be fine with the jeans and boots. And leave the gun off. Only people here who carry guns are the police and the crooks.”
“Sounds like others need to carry them as well.”
“Yeah, well that would make for more problems, so for now, leave it.”
Heyes stripped off his shirts and put on the polo shirt. Jessie instructed him to tuck in the tail, and leave a button open at the top. There, he would fit right in. Leaving his hat behind, they headed out the door and back to Jessie’s office.
Jessie introduced the dark headed stranger as her cousin, and no one questioned her. She walked into the main office to see Bob standing there, bent over a desk, a worried look on his face.
“OK, I’m here, what’s wrong?”
Bob glanced up, immediately taking in the stranger who had entered the room with Jessie. “Who is that?”
“My cousin. Now, what’s wrong?”
Bob turned back towards the desk. “These plans, they are all wrong. Yesterday we had them worked out fine, now this morning they have changed. And no one here did anything to them. Jessie, what’s going on?”
Jessie looked at the plans and could see where the trouble was. One of the designs that her father had done was missing. But that would only happen if time was changing. Jessie looked up and met Heyes’ eyes over the top of Bob’s head. “Time has been disturbed. That’s what’s wrong.”
Bob looked up and into Jessie’s eyes. “How could that be?”
“Jason. You said you don’t know where he is. I think I do, but I am not sure how to get him back here right now. Listen to me, if I don’t get this corrected, none of this will exist beyond a few more days. Will you help me?”
Bob nodded his head. He knew Jessie had continued her father’s work, and that she took pride in preventing changes in the past. If she was concerned, than he needed to be as well.
“What do you want me to do?”
“I need all the copies of the records from Jason’s office, including those on disc, and the hard drives. I need those destroyed immediately.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Right history and shut this all down. People are just not ready for time travel yet. Maybe in the future, but not now. Jason is getting greedy, and greed is very destructive.”
Bob hurried off to gather the materials from Jason’s room. Jessie logged onto a computer and surfed to the outlaw site, reading the material regarding Heyes and Curry. It had changed, and not for the better. Now they both died tomorrow. Jason was really messing things up. She stood and grabbed Heyes by the arm and drug him to her office. She quickly told him of what she had found out, and started pacing, trying to come up with a plan to correct things.
“Jessie, how does Jason travel between time?”
Jessie stopped pacing. “The same way we all do. He has his own medallion that controls the location where he wants to go. There is a portal in several rooms in this office. Why?”
“Because, I noticed that your medallion just glowed ever so softly under your shirt. Maybe Jason is back?”
Jessie pushed herself from her chair and sprinted towards Jason’s office. She glanced to the side and saw Bob hurrying towards his office, arms full of papers and discs. At least he got out before Jason returned.
Jessie pushed open Jason’s door, stopping when she saw Jason dressed in western style of the 1880’s. Jason turned around, surprised at her entry. His smile didn’t reach his face, and faded out completely when the dark headed man entered the room behind him. Both men eyed each other, sizing up the man in front of him.
“Who is that?” Jason asked, pointing towards Heyes.
“He is my cousin.”
“You don’t have a cousin.”
Heyes smiled towards Jason. “He looks a lot like one of his ancestors. He was a jerk as well.” Jessie looked towards Heyes, willing him to be quiet. Heyes didn’t say any more.
Turning back towards Jason, Jessie replied,“There are a lot of things you don’t know about me.”
“Apparently. What are you doing here?”
“Trying to see what you are up to. Where have you been?”
“Nowhere. What business is it of yours?”
Jessie was becoming angry. “It is entirely my business. Dad left this to me when he died. I intend to see it used as he wanted, not for others to profit individually.”
Jason smiled brightly, “Well, girlie, what do you intend to do about that?”
Jessie stepped towards Jason, but it was Heyes that reached him first, grabbing him by the collar and shoving him up against the wall.
“I don’t like the way you are speaking to my cousin. In fact, I don’t like the way you are looking at her either.” And Heyes brought his fist back and connected with Jason’s left eye. Jason fell to the floor, covering his eye with his hands. The actions caused Heyes to see a gold necklace around Jason’s neck, and he reached down and grabbed the necklace, pulling hard.
Jason tried to wrestle the necklace away from Heyes, but was not able to do more than open the medallion. In the ensuing fight, the portal was activated. Jason quickly ran into the portal, not thinking to grab his medallion as he did. Heyes started to chase after him, but Jessie pulled him away at the last second, and they both watched as the portal closed.
“Where do you think he went?”
Jessie took the medallion and looked at the setting inside the dial. A quick calculation showed he was destined for tomorrow morning, in Heyes time. They had to hurry.
Jessie pulled Heyes out of the building and into her truck, turning it towards home. There was very little time left. She only hoped there was enough.
Once inside, Jessie had Heyes change back into his own clothes. While she was changing, she quickly scanned the internet site for any changes. She didn’t like what she saw.
Turning towards Heyes, she said, “You have to go back now. Jason is changing things quickly, so you have to stop him.”
“How do I do that?”
“When you get back, you will be a few minutes ahead of Jason. He is going to your camp to kill you. Don’t let him get the draw on you. If you finish him off in your time, that will correct the events, that will right history.”
“But what happens here? If he doesn’t come back, what happens to the time machine, your father’s work?”
Jessie shook her head. “Nothing.”
“Jason didn’t contribute anything to the project. Everything he did, I redid before it was turned into my father. With Jason gone, nothing here will change, except maybe we can get some help that knows what they are doing.”
“Did your father ever know it was you doing the work?”
“I’m not sure. But it doesn’t matter. I wish he were still here, but that wasn’t meant to be. So for now, I am content with making sure he gets born in the first place.”
“What are you going to do now?”
“I am not sure. But I know that I am going to destroy all the medallions. This decade just isn’t ready for time travel. Someday, but not today.”
Heyes walked over to her and hugged her. Strange to be hugging someone he was related to, someone who really hadn’t been born yet. He stepped away from her.
“Jessie, you be careful.”
“Hannibal, if you are not careful, it won’t matter. Now, are you ready to save your entire family?”
Heyes nodded. He took one last look around, wanting to remember as much as possible.
Jessie withdrew her medallion, turned some dials, and glanced towards the door of the closet. Walking over to the door, she swung it open wide, and glanced inside. Heyes walked towards the door, and he too looked inside. He could tell that there was a slight swirling inside the closet, so knew that this was a portal.
“Where will I come out?”
“In the clearing, at just the same point in time that we left. As soon as you get back, start looking for Jason. He will be there. And Hannibal, be careful.”
“I will. Thanks.”
“You know, everything my grandfather told me about you is true. You are very much a gentleman, and a very nice man. Makes me proud to be related to you.”
“And I am glad to know that I did amount to something. And was able to have such a wonderful granddaughter.”
Jessie took one last look at Heyes and pointed towards the closet. He understood, and reaching out to squeeze her hand one last time, stepped into the portal and was gone.
Heyes opened his eyes and looked around. He was back in the clearing, where he had first seen Jessie. He drew his gun from its holster and slowly eased back behind a tree, waiting for Jason. He didn’t have long to wait.
Jason walked out into the clearing, gun drawn, a smile on his face.
“Heyes, you might as well come out and let’s get this over with.”
Heyes looked at Jason and could see another man who smiled a lot, too much to suit Heyes, and knew they were related. He hoped this meeting turned out like the last one did. Or else everything would change.
Heyes stepped out, catching Jason’s eye. “Here I am. Now what?”
“Now you die,” and Jason raised the gun and aimed at Heyes.
Both guns went off at the same time, but Heyes knew more about guns and fighting than Jason did, and he stepped to the side as he fired. Jason’s bullet whipped past Heyes’ ear, embedding itself into a tree. Heyes’ bullet found its mark, hitting Jason squarely in the chest. Jason grabbed at his chest before tumbling forward.
Kid had been awakened by the gunfire and now he too ran into the clearing, gun drawn. He took in the scene before him, and knew Heyes had things under control.
Kid walked over to Jason, turning him over. He had the impression that he knew this man, but couldn’t place him.
“He tried to kill me, but I got him instead.”
“Who is he, and why did he want to kill you?”
Heyes looked at Kid. “Someday I will tell you, but for now lets just bury him and get moving along.”
Two nights later found the pair camped along a river, with large trees acting as a canopy. Kid had already gone to sleep, but Heyes had the feeling he needed to stay awake. Several minutes had passed when he heard a familiar noise. Getting up quietly so as to not awaken Kid, he followed the noise, pretty sure of what he would find.
There sitting in a clearing, on a fallen log, was Jessie. At his arrival, a smile formed along her face. He walked to where she was, and grabbed her into a bear hug. He decided she needed to breathe, so he loosened his hold, and sat down beside her.
“So what happened,” he asked.
“You did it Hannibal. History is back to the way it was suppose to be. In fact, even better.”
“How is it better?”
Jessie looked into the eyes of the outlaw. “Because with Jason dying here, he was not born in my time.” She waved away Heyes’ confused look. “One of the drawbacks to time travel. Anyway, because he was not born, he wasn’t at the lab causing my dad problems.”
Heyes was starting to understand.
“My dad is alive and well. He didn’t have a heart attack, because there was less stress without Jason around. He didn’t die last year. He is alive in my time and that is all thanks to you.”
“Jessie, I am so glad for you.”
“I had a hard time explaining everything to Dad. But he did finally believe me. And we decided to destroy the medallions, to keep this from happening again.”
“Are you all right with that?”
“Yeah, I am. I just wanted to do one last trip, to tell you how things worked out, and to thank you."
Heyes smiled at his granddaughter. “No, it is I who should be thanking you. If you hadn’t done all this, I would have been dead on that night. I don’t know what I can ever do to repay you for what you did.”
Jessie smiled back at Heyes. “Just remember to keep working towards that amnesty. It will be yours. And than everything you want will come true.”
Jessie stood and walked towards the forest. She stopped and looked back to where Heyes was now standing.
“Oh, and by the way, I am sorry that you kept having that dream. I didn’t know any other way to make you think what I was telling you about you dying might be the truth.”
Heyes laughed. “You gave me that dream?”
Jessie nodded, “Yeah, sorry.”
Heyes shook his head and smiled. “No, I am glad. So does this mean that I won’t be bothered by it again?”
Jessie shook her head. “Never again.”
Heyes took a long, last look at his granddaughter. “You be careful. Take care.”
Jessie lifted her hand in a wave goodbye. “You too. Someday, tell Kid about this. He just might believe you.”
And she walked into the forest and was gone. Heyes found he was sorry to see her go, but knew that she was going back to a world that was brighter than it had been. He turned back towards where he and Kid were camped.
Heyes thought, and now his future was brighter too. He knew that he would always remember the events that had happened over the last few days. He wondered if Jessie would as well, or if changing time would erase those memories. He would never know the answer to that. So for now, he was content with this new future, and he headed back towards the camp, looking forward to the future for the first time in a long time.
Jessie sat at her computer, looking up the outlaw website and reading about Heyes and Curry. She smiled as she saw the events had happened in their lives. She read about their amnesty, what they did with their lives, and where they lived. She was reading about Heyes’ children when a named jumped out at her. Heyes had named one of his sons Jessie.
She smiled. So that is where she got her name……”Thanks Heyes.”
And shutting off her monitor, she headed into the kitchen, where her father was making his famous salad. Life was good.