Episode 1309

Strike Up The Band

by: Claire Jacobs





Scott Bakula as 

Dr. Sam Beckett

Dean Stockwell as 

Admiral Albert Calavicci




Ricky Ullman as Christy Carlson Romano as Hayden Christensen as
Adam Bradstreet Kimberly Chase Jeremy Payne
Zac  Afron as Lise Simmons as 
Nathan Burt Ms. Bradstreet


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Theorizing that one could time-travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett led an elite group of scientists into the desert to develop a top-secret project known as Quantum Leap.  Pressured to prove his theories or lose funding, Dr. Beckett prematurely stepped into the Project Accelerator…and vanished.


He awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that was not his own.  Fortunately, contact with his own time was maintained through brainwave transmissions with Al, the Project Observer, who appeared in the form of a hologram that only Dr. Beckett can see and hear.


As evil ones do their best to stop Dr. Beckett’s journey, his children, Dr. Samantha Josephine Fulton and Stephen Beckett, continuously strive to retrieve their time-lost father and bring him home permanently.  Despite returning home several times over the last decade, Dr. Beckett has remained lost in the time stream…his final fate no longer certain.


Trapped in the past and driven by an unknown force, Dr. Beckett struggles to accept his destiny as he continues to find himself leaping from life to life, putting things right that once went wrong with the hopes that his next leap…will be the final leap home.




Dr. Samuel Beckett, once again, felt the all-too-familiar sense of disorientation as the blue essence of his leap faded away, revealing a brilliantly crystal-blue sky. He was back to the basics again. He now had to figure out who he was, where he was, when he was, and (most importantly), why he was there. Almost immediately, after less than a minute in his new environment, Sam felt his clothing stick to his body as the hot summer sun beat down on the back of his neck.


Well, that takes care of half of two things, Sam thought as he surveyed his new surroundings. I’m in the south in the middle of summer.


He was among a rather large group of teenagers who were standing absolutely still in perfect formation across a vast field. Sam racked his large, but Swiss-cheesed, brain as to why they could be doing this and only one thought came to mind.


“My, God… I’m in a cult!” Sam whispered aloud.


A voice next to him laughed, “Yeah, we’ve been referred to as that way before.”


Sam glanced to his left and saw a young brunette girl who looked about seventeen.  She then grew a serious, bossy tone, “You remember where you’re heading today?”


Sam faltered. He hated answering questions before Al came, especially ones as cryptic as this.  “I…uh…”


Before he could answer, a whistle suddenly cut through the thick air.


“Just keep going to your right until they stop us for the drum solo!” the girl cried.


Baffled and perplexed, Sam slowly turned in the proper direction. He began to notice things about his surroundings in greater detail. He was looking directly across the field at a heavyset boy carrying a large, silver sousaphone. A few people down from Sam were carrying brass trumpets. As realization dawned upon him, Sam looked down into his own hands to find he was cradling a clarinet.


I’m in a marching band! Sam was confused. One more mystery of his new life was solved, but he wasn’t sure this was the best place for him.


The whistle blew long for a second time and was followed by four short blasts. Apparently, that was some code for these people because everyone began to move, leaving Sam behind.


“Go!” cried the girl from behind.


Sam startled and attempted to retrieve his place in the setup. He now began feeling the other all-too-familiar sensation of panic creeping in as he silently pleaded for help.


I played piano in my living room, for crying out loud! I don’t know what to do out here!


He continued down his projected path, noting that he and the large sousaphone-carrying boy were moving dangerously close to each other.


The girl behind him was saying aloud, “Left… left… left…” every other beat.


Never breaking his gaze from the oncoming boy, Sam harshly whispered, “What are you doing?”


“You’re on the wrong foot!” she replied, exasperated.


“What?!” Sam was bewildered.


“We’re in our last week of band camp and you still haven’t figured this out yet? You’re marching on the wrong foot! You step on your left foot when I say ‘left’! What the hell is wrong with you?”


Frustrated, Sam rounded upon the girl, yet continuing to walk backwards. “Look, I’ll figure it out, okay! Just back off a little!”


The girl’s gaze quickly shifted behind Sam. “Adam, look out!”


The sousaphone player had marched up to within eighteen inches behind Sam and then turned sharply to move on to the next set. Before Sam could react, the oversized tuba bell cracked the back of his skull. Bright white lights burst into Sam’s vision as his head exploded and throbbed in pain. His vision dimmed and he felt himself fall face-first to the ground.


As band members and directors rushed toward him, Sam weakly groaned, “Oh boy,” before succumbing to the darkness.





Sam woke several minutes later with a blurry crowd of concerned faces circling his vision. His head was fuzzy and he could only hear white noise. However, Sam heard a familiar voice cut through the din.


“You okay, Sam?”


Sam tilted his head slightly and saw Al kneeling next to him, partially obstructed by a boy’s leg sticking through Al’s bent knee. “What happened?” he asked, directing his question to Al.


However, the boy who belonged to the encroaching leg answered, “Your head and my bell became friends.”


Sam looked up at the boy and recognized him as the one who carted the sousaphone.


“I’m sorry, man,” he said sincerely.


“I’m fine, it’s okay,” Sam groaned.


“We need to talk, Sam,” Al said.


Suddenly, the face of an older gentleman popped through the crowd. He was a short, balding man with a mustache that would rival the most dignified of walruses. He sported a bright red ball cap with a yellow bill and the word “DIRECTOR” embroidered in an electric blue. Obviously, he was the band director of this massive group and was not ashamed to admit it.


“Oh, Sam, this is Harold McKenzie, your director,” Al informed, reading off the handlink’s information screen. Giggling aloud he added, “Nicknamed ‘Big Mac’.”


“Okay, Adam,” Mr. McKenzie said, “let’s get you into the band room and out of the heat.”


Sam quickly glanced at Al, who immediately started beating on his blinking handlink.  “You’re fine to be moved, Sam. Ziggy says you’ve only got a mild concussion. Just do everything slow,” Al explained with a tone of concern.


Al could count the number of times Sam had been injured on a leap on one hand ten times over, but it still didn’t make it any easier to see it happen.


Sam gingerly sat up with the aid of two fellow students. He then stood up but, once he was upright, his head swam and he fell forward, through Al, and into his tuba-carrying assailant.


“Mr. White,” Mr. McKenzie said to his assistant director, “help Mr. Bradstreet upstairs and make sure he gets some ice on that head.”


Mr. White nodded and then gently held Sam upright by maintaining a sturdy grip on his left forearm. Even through the pounding and fog in his brain, Sam was able to mark off one more thing from his “who am I this time?” checklist.


Thank God… I’m a man, Sam thought gratefully.


After trekking the several dozen stairs that connected the band field to the band room, Mr. White sat Sam down on the floor with his back against the wall. Sam saw Al pop into the room and walk to stand next to him.


“Try not to move very much. I’ll be back with ice,” Mr. White said, leaving in a hurry.


Once he was out of earshot, Sam asked, “How long had you been out there, Al?”


“Long enough to see your bell get rung, Sam,” Al replied. “And to see you yell at that very cute brunette.”


Sam gave Al a stern “don’t continue that thought” glare and reached back and massaged the growing lump on the back of his head. 


“She wouldn’t shut up, Al. She kept nagging me until I couldn’t take it anymore,” Sam cried, just as Mr. White entered the room.


“Who? Kimberly? Ah, Adam, she’ll mellow out eventually,” he added with a smile. “She took a lot of grief the past three years, so now that she’s section leader, she’s getting revenge. Plus, being the only girl in her section who could outplay any senior didn’t really help. She’s really a sweet natured person.”


“Yeah, right,” Sam muttered bitterly.


Mr. White laughed as he bent down and handed Sam an ice pack.


“You’ll see. Just keep that on your head for a while and rest. I need to get back down on the field. Are you going to be okay?”


Sam copied Al’s nod of affirmation and Mr. White left the two of them alone.


Wincing as he placed the ice on his goose egg, Sam said, “Okay, Al… you know the drill.”


Al poked at the handlink, which beeped and whined in protest. “Well, now,” Al started, “the date is Thursday, July 29th, 1999, and you’ve leaped into one Adam Bradstreet. Your parents are divorced and you live with your mother. You’re fourteen years old,” he continued, grinning at Sam’s reaction to his age, “You are a freshman at Green Valley High School in Clanton , Alabama , and you’re a band geek, first class.”


“What?” Sam asked, distractedly. “I’m a geek?”


Band geek, Sam. There’s a difference. Not much of one, but it’s there,” Al added sarcastically. “You play the clarinet and have since you were nine. You are the best player in the band and have the top chair…” Al paused, glaring questioningly at the handlink, and then he beat it royally with his palm. “…placement? Oh, top chair placement of the entire group. Wow, Sam, you’re good!” Al marveled.


“No, Adam’s good, Al,” Sam corrected. “I play piano and guitar, I can’t do this.”


“You’re a quick learner, Sam. Plus, your doctorate in music couldn’t hurt either. In any case, we’ve got to make you seem like the best player… which, by the way, hasn’t made ‘Miss Left-foot’ any happier.”


“Kimberly? What’s her story?”


“Kimberly Chase, senior, second chair player for the first time in her band career. She can’t believe the fact that a freshman beat a senior in chairs, especially since she’s been the player who beat the seniors for the past three years running. While, you’re here, Sam,” Al continued, “you are likely going to come across Adam’s best friend, Nathan Burt. He’ll be about 5’8” with a goatee.”


“At fourteen?” Sam asked incredulously.


“Apparently,” Al replied.


“Why am I here, Al?” Sam asked, repositioning his ice pack.

”We don’t know yet exactly, but,” Al interjected as Sam began to complain, “Ziggy thinks there is an 83% chance it has to do with Kimberly. We’re still figuring out what exactly,” Al said.


Sam sighed. “Great, now what do I do?” he asked.


Al shrugged and replied, “Just roll with the punches and live your life as a lowly freshman until Ziggy works the way she’s supposed to.”


Sam gave Al a sarcastic smirk. “Gee, thanks.”


“Anytime, kid,” Al playfully replied. “I’ll be back when I’ve got more.” With that, Al punched a series of buttons and the bright white Imaging Chamber door opened. He stepped into it and vanished with the familiar whoosh.


Before Sam could begin to reflect upon his current life, the band room door burst open and a boy about Adam’s age came in. He spotted Sam sitting against the wall and walked over toward him.  As he came close, Sam noticed he had a neatly trimmed goatee.  This must have been the Nathan Al was telling me about.


“Dude, you okay?” Nathan asked, unsuccessfully suppressing a boyish grin.


Sam couldn’t help but grin back as he replied, “You’re really enjoying seeing me like this, aren’t you?”


Nathan paused and then nodded fervently. “Yeah…yeah, I am,” he replied. “Hey, let me put up your horn.”


Sam looked puzzled. Horn? Adam played the clarinet, not the horn. Maybe “horn” is just a generic term for any and all instruments. Yeah, that has to be it.


Sam handed Nathan his clarinet and watched him as he took apart the pieces and put them in a small black case. Nathan then pushed the case into a locker. Walking back over, he extended his hand towards Sam and said, “C’mon, let’s get you up and out of here before the thundering hoard comes in.”


Sam took Nathan’s hand and gingerly stood upright. “Thanks Nate.”


The two friends walked out of the band room, down a hallway, and out to the parking lot where the parents of underage band people waited to pick up their children.


Without thinking, Sam voiced the question that invaded his mind. “Where’s my car?”


Nathan stopped suddenly and he snapped his head toward Sam. Sam instantly knew he goofed and he racked his brain trying to find a way out of it.


“Okay,” Nathan said, “if you’ve figured out how to get a permit and a car at fourteen, and haven’t told me how, you’re no longer my best friend. You mean you’ve actually forgotten what your mom’s car is?”


Deciding to capitalize upon his recent injury, Sam laughingly replied, “Well, I did just get knocked out about ten minutes ago, so forgive me if I forget some minor details.”


Nathan laughed and led Sam to a 2003 gold Chevrolet Malibu with a middle-aged woman in the driver’s seat. She got out of the car when Mr. McKenzie ran out to inform her of the day’s events concerning her son.


Sam and Nathan said their goodbyes and parted ways. Sam positioned himself in the passenger seat. After reassuring his mother ten times that he was okay once she entered the car, they pulled out of the parking lot and onto Sam’s new, temporary home.


After the five-minute drive from the school to Adam’s home, the car pulled into a long, steep driveway that led to a two-car garage. It was a very sweet looking home from the outside - a dark brown, split-level Tudor with white trim. It looked like a gingerbread house. It had a large front yard, perfect for neighborhood football games in the fall, and it was landscaped beautifully. It was obvious that Adam’s mother loved gardening… and azalea bushes.


Upon entering his house, Ms. Bradstreet immediately began to fuss over her injured only son. She basically all but carried Sam as she helped him into bed. If it were at any other time, Sam would find this kind of smothering annoying, but the throbbing in his skull made Sam grateful beyond words.


With his head nestled upon a Ziplock bag of ice and a thousand milligrams of Tylenol in his system, Sam now had opportunity to sort out the new and recently discovered details of his life. He was a high school freshman again. Though Sam Beckett didn’t have what anyone would call a “normal” school life, he did understand what it felt like to endure the “freshman ridicule”. Being an average two years younger than the rest of the freshman didn’t help either.


So, Sam was here to help a girl who couldn’t possibly like him any less and he had no earthly idea how to go about it. “No different than about half my other leaps,” Sam muttered, closing his eyes.


As he began to drift off, he was brought back with a jolt to a sharp cry of his name.


“Sam, wake up!”


Sam’s eyes popped open and he startled as he gazed upon Al’s face a mere eight inches from his own.


“God, Al!” Sam cried. “Do you enjoy giving me heart attacks?”


“You know damn well you’re not supposed to sleep this soon after a concussion,” Al chastised, shaking his lit cigar at Sam. “And where did you get your medical degree from?”


“I was just resting my eyes.” 


“Uh-huh,” Al murmured, clearly not believing Sam’s excuse. “Sit up so you can focus.”


Sam obliged and Al began to poke and beat on the handlink.  “We figured out why you’re here.”




“Yeah,” Al replied sadly. “The odds are up to 98.2% concerning her. In the original history, Kimberly’s body was found on that band field four days from now.”


“Oh, no, Al,” Sam whispered. “What happened to her?”


“Well,” Al paused, swallowing down a lump growing in his throat, “her clothes were ripped to shreds and she was beaten to a pulp, so…” Al didn’t feel like he needed to finish; it was pretty self-explanatory.


Sam sat back, eyes wide in shock, and heart heavy. “Al…” Sam choked as his mouth dried, “do we know who did this?”


“No,” Al hollowly replied, “the nozzle was never caught.”


Sam hated these leaps with every fiber of his being. He was nauseated by the fact anyone would commit such atrocities such as rape and murder. The only thing that gave Sam hope was that he had been put in a situation where he could (and will, Sam thought) change the outcome.


“Any idea who could’ve done this? Sure, she’s a pain in the butt, but no one deserves that kind of suffering.”


Al sighed sadly. “No, but we’ll make a list of people she may come in contact with on a daily basis, run them through the probability matrix, and get back to you with the results. Just keep an eye on her until then.”


Sam nodded, ignoring the fresh wave of pain it caused.


“Okay, you get some rest now. But no sleeping yet, Sam, you hear me boy?” Al added the last with his best admiral-like bark.


Sam rolled his eyes. “Yes, Mom.” He gave Al a mock salute.

Al smirked then returned to the present via the Imaging Chamber door.






Bradstreet Residence, July 30th, 1999, 7:02am


After spending the rest of the afternoon in his bed, and falling asleep when it was medically safe, Sam woke Friday morning with his mission clearly in mind. He had to stick to Kimberly, watch over her and protect her from her future killer. Unfortunately, she usually traveled in a large pack of seniors who would, as Sam assumed, not want a freshman tagging along.


His mother was insistent on keeping her son home and the doctor in Sam would’ve agreed with her. However, the eternal Leaping Boy Scout in him knew that he needed to keep a constant focus on Kimberly and he fought hard to do so.


Ms. Bradstreet finally conceded, making Sam swear upon pain of death by her hand that he would call her to get him if he should become ill. He agreed and was transported up to the school for the 8:00am band camp.


How do they expect high schoolers to be awake and focused at 8:00am in the middle of summer? Sam inwardly mused.


Saying goodbye and reiterating his promise to his mother, Sam walked into the room and froze. They were playing indoors. He realized that he still had no idea what to do or how to play the clarinet. It would’ve been simple enough outside - he could fake playing outside - but now a wrench was thrown into Sam’s system.  Al had told Sam that he had a doctorate in music, but he had no recollection of it whatsoever.


Damn that Swiss-cheese effect!


Sam spotted Nathan over at a set of lockers and walked over to him. Nathan was putting his clarinet together and Sam stared in anxious amazement. There were five pieces to that ruddy thing that were supposed to fit together perfectly. Along with them was a flat wooden stick and a silver metal clamp that went only God knew where.


Sam sighed and whispered, “This’ll be interesting.”


It was then when Nathan noticed the presence of his best friend.


His eyebrows furrowed and he asked, “What the hell are you doing here? You do remember getting knocked out yesterday, right?”


Sam detected the obvious concern in Nathan’s voice and just a tiny hint of sarcasm. Sam decided to play off the latter.


“No, not really,” Sam replied, smiling. “I must have forgotten about it when I was knocked out yesterday.”


Nathan laughed, shaking his head and replaced his clarinet case in his locker. Sam opened the locker he saw Nathan put Sam’s clarinet the day before. He was just opening the case when, suddenly, a large hand clapped Sam’s shoulder. It was Mr. McKenzie.


“Well, boy, I didn’t expect to see you this morning!” he cried boisterously. Sam wondered how many cups of coffee this man had already consumed this morning.


“Well, uh, I didn’t want to miss a rehearsal,” Sam said, trying to say what a “band geek, first class” like Adam would say.


Nathan sniggered behind Sam’s back. “You’re such a dork,” he whispered.


Mr. McKenzie pointed at Sam’s clarinet case. “Are you going to be able to play that thing?”


Sam shifted his gaze from the band director to his clarinet and back.


“Uh, we’ll see,” Sam replied earnestly.


“I bet you don’t even remember how to play it!” the director added jokingly.


Well, he did bring it up.


Sam never shied from a difficult situation, thriving on overcoming obstacles that challenged him. Normally, Sam would’ve loved to learn how to play the clarinet but if he was to keep up the “band geek-first chair-incredible player” image Adam worked so hard to achieve, it would be best for Sam to stay as far away from that instrument as possible.


Sam cleared his throat nervously. “Um, actually…now that you mention it, I have to admit I’m a little fuzzy about it.” Sam rubbed the back of his head for emphasis. “Plus,” he continued as Mr. McKenzie’s brows furrowed, “we talked to the doctor and he said that I shouldn’t really do any playing for a while. He said I should be well by Monday.”


“Okay, I understand Adam,” Mr. McKenzie said, patting Sam’s shoulder. “Just sit in your seat and study the music.”


Sam nodded, relief sweeping over him. He needed to focus on bigger things, like protecting Kimberly. It was a white lie, yes, but Sam figured that since he was a doctor himself who would give the same prognosis to any other person with a bump on the head, it would be okay this time.


Besides, I’ll be out of here by Monday.


Grinning broadly at Nathan’s jealous stare, Sam put his case back into his locker and took his seat next to Kimberly who glared at him out of the corner of her eye.


“Where’s your horn?” she asked sharply.


Sam slowly turned his head toward her. His initial pang of annoyance ebbed as he gazed upon her face. She was a lovely girl with long dark brown hair she had braided down her back with ringlets of bangs surrounding her face. Her skin was darkened by her time in the summer sun but still had remnants of sunburn. Sam could hardly believe that she would be victim of a horrible crime in a few days time. It may even be sooner. Al needed to get all the information set in stone.


“I’m not supposed to play until Monday.”


She gave him a questioning stare worthy of the title “section leader”.


“Doctor’s orders,” Sam added, smiling genially.


At that, her face softened. “I’m glad you’re okay. You scared me!”


“I thought you hated me, frankly.”


Kimberly looked sheepish. “Ah, Adam, I don’t hate you. I just take this stuff really seriously and, if things don’t go exactly right, I freak out. This is my senior year and I’ve paid my dues. I just want things to be perfect for my last year.”


“I’ll work on it,” Sam said, his smile broadening.


She smiled back sweetly. Suddenly, her eyes widened in fear and looked down as she fidgeted nervously. Sam instantly leaned over and put his hand on her shoulder. She started slightly.


“Kimberly?” Sam asked, very concerned. “What’s wrong?”


“N-n-nothing,” she replied nervously, avoiding looking in Sam’s direction.


Noticing this, Sam quickly swung his head to the right, searching for the source of Kimberly’s fear. There were at least eight band members walking by, both male and female. It was impossible to tell whom Kimberly was reacting to. Sam turned back her.


“Kimberly, what…” Sam was interrupted by Mr. McKenzie calling the group to order.


Sam spent the next half hour observing Kimberly’s behavior. She had relaxed a little but she glanced nervously across the band set every few minutes. Sam followed her gaze and attempted to find who she was looking at, but to no avail.


Sam heard the familiar whoosh from behind and both happiness and nervousness invaded his system. This new unsolved development of Kimberly’s that Sam just witnessed put him on edge. Something was definitely wrong and he had to figure out what it was and how to stop it before Kimberly was killed.


“Feeling better, Sam?” Al asked.


Sam nodded slowly and inconspicuously.


“Come on outside. Let’s talk,” Al said, punching the handlink and then disappearing.


Sam leaned over to Kimberly and whispered, “If you need to go to the bathroom you can just get up and leave, right?”


Kimberly turned and said sarcastically, “Yeah… and thank you for telling me that piece of personal information.” Sam noticed that it was a joking sarcasm, not the cruel sarcasm he’d been subjected to earlier.


Sam rolled his eyes playfully then got up and walked out of the room and down the hall toward Al.


“How’s everything going Sam?” Al asked.


“Something’s come up. What have you got for me?”


“We’ve run every name of every person Kimberly knows and we’ve come up with nada. Well, nothing definitive, at least. We have determined that she was raped and killed by someone she knew, though.”


“That’s a start,” Sam said. “What were the odds on her acquaintances?”


“It’s a wide spread, Sam,” Al replied, bringing up the information on the handlink. “Some were higher than others, but we don’t have a specific ‘this is who we’re looking for’ kind of thing. Sorry, Sam.”


Sam sighed exasperatedly. “Great.”


“I’ve got more bad news, pal,” Al continued. “We did more digging and we learned that Kimberly actually gets killed tomorrow night at 9:06 pm.”


“Tomorrow night?” Sam cried. “Oh, boy.”


“Well, what happened here, Sam?” Al asked.


“Oh, yeah,” Sam said. “There’s someone here that Kimberly is very scared of. She was talking to me, smiling and laughing, then her face just blanched and she started shaking. I’m telling you, Al she was terrified!”


“Did you see who?”


“No. There were too many people to pick out one.”


“Okay,” Al sighed. “I’ll run a ‘stalker’ scenario through Ziggy and see what she comes up with.”


“Good idea. I’ll keep looking around Kimberly to see if I can find him here,” Sam said.

The doors of the band room then burst open and the entire large group filed out for their mid-morning break. Sam and Al exchanged glances and Al disappeared.


Sam saw both Nathan and Kimberly exit the room. Nathan moved straight toward Sam, and Kimberly disappeared into the crowd.


“Oh, no!” Sam whispered. “Where’d she go?”


“There is no point in you even being here!” Nathan said. “You just sit there, you lucky thing!”


Sam didn’t hear him. He had spotted Kimberly break away from the crowd. Sam ran past Nathan and kept his eyes on her as she walked outside alone. Sam’s stomach couldn’t help but drop when he saw a tall, blonde boy walk out after her.


Sam sprinted forward, bumping through the hoards of students in the crowded halls.


“Where are you going?” Nathan called.


“Move!” Sam yelled, finally breaking through the crowd with grumbles of “stupid freshman”.


Sam pressed his face against the windowpane, poised to intervene if the need came. Sam did want to be cautious. What if he was her boyfriend? He could see Kimberly, but the boy she was talking to had his back to Sam. Kimberly looked anxious, which made Sam anxious. He opened the door and walked outside where he could hear what they were saying.


“Come on, Kim, one date? Tomorrow night!” the boy said with a hint of frustration. He looked to be about Kimberly’s age.


“I’ve told you. No!” Kimberly cried with a discernable falter in her voice. “Now, please, just stay away from me.”


Sam knew instantly that it was time to intervene. He began walking toward the two. Kimberly glanced behind the boy and saw him. Sam nodded knowingly and motioned for her to come to him.


“Okay, I’ll be right there to help, Adam,” she called.


Kimberly brushed past the boy as fast as possible. The boy had other plans. As she passed, he grabbed her wrist and spun her around to face him. Sam could now see his face and he saw flaming anger in his eyes.


“Ow! Let go of me!” Kimberly cried, wincing as he wrenched her wrist in an awkward and painful position.


Sam leapt forward and sprinted toward Kimberly’s assailant. He charged full speed toward him and, like a football player, shoved the boy hard in the chest. The boy flew backward and fell hard on the pavement. Sam stood in front of Kimberly and glared down at the fallen boy.


The boy leapt up, his face a dark crimson in fury. “What the hell are you doing, Bradstreet?!” he demanded.


“I believe she asked you to leave her alone,” Sam retorted, reaching his arm back and clutching Kimberly’s elbow protectively.


“This doesn’t concern you, freshman!” he yelled, stepping forward menacingly.


Sam instinctively moved backward, pushing Kimberly back with him to give her more protection.


“After what I just saw, I think it damn well does,” Sam snarled, not backing down for an instant.


“You’re not going to narc on me,” the boy said. It was a statement of fact, rather than a question. “You know what’ll happen if you do.” Kimberly quietly whimpered behind Sam.


He glared threateningly at Sam and the shaking Kimberly, but Sam stood his ground. Ever so slowly, the boy made a move to walk past them. Never breaking each other’s gaze, Sam rotated along with him to always keep Kimberly shielded from her attacker. Sam didn’t blink until he watched the boy turn his back and re-enter the building.


Kimberly let out a quiet, shuddering breath, and Sam quickly turned to face her. She was white as a sheet and shivering. She quickly wiped away a single tear that fell down her cheek. Sam secretly prayed that Kimberly wasn’t the kind of girl who would deny that this ever happened and reject any help Sam would offer. It would make this already difficult leap even worse.


“Are you okay?” Sam asked his hands on either shoulder.


Massaging the wrist her assailant nearly broke, she shakily answered, “Yes, I’m okay. I just wish he’d leave me alone.” She was close to dissolving in tears.


“Who was that maniac?” Sam asked, rubbing her forearms, trying to comfort her.


“Jer-Jeremy Payne,” she replied, looking down at the asphalt. “Payne. Good name for a stalker, isn’t it?”


The light bulb in Sam’s head switched on.




Kimberly nodded. “He’s been after me for about six months and I keep saying ‘no’. I have absolutely no interest in him, especially now,” she added angrily facing the direction of Jeremy’s departure. She looked back into Sam’s eyes and whispered, “My God… Adam, thank you.”


Sam drew her into a warm, protective embrace. She held on tight as a few more tears fell.


“Shh, it’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay,” Sam said soothingly. “I have a feeling he won’t be a problem for you after a short time.”


She sighed. “I pray to God you’re right,” she said into his shoulder.


“Has he hurt you before now?” Sam asked, pulling back to face her.


“No,” she replied, shaking her head. “He used to just follow me around everywhere and act like we were already dating. He would put his arm around my shoulders or waist in the hallway. He found out where I lived, and he would come by almost everyday to give me flowers or ask me out. It was really creepy. When I told him to stop…”


“He started getting violent,” Sam finished her thought.


Kimberly nodded.


Sam saw the Imaging Chamber door whoosh open behind Kimberly, and Al stepped through.


“What do you need me to do, Kimberly?” Sam asked earnestly.


She smiled and said, “You’ve done enough Adam. I don’t want to risk you getting hurt so just let me handle this from now on, okay?”


“Uh, you better not do that, Sam,” Al said.


“You know I can’t do that, Kimberly,” Sam replied.


Quickly changing the subject, Kimberly said, “We should get back in there. The break is almost over.”


Sam sighed, temporarily defeated. “You go on, I’ll be there in a minute,” Sam said, quickly glancing at Al behind her back.


She turned and Al instinctively stepped aside to allow her to pass.


“Sam!” Al cried. “We’ve got it! That hunk of junk you created got it! We ran the names in the matrix but put ‘stalker’ in the mix and we’re 98.7% sure that her stalker is…”


“Jeremy Payne,” Sam interrupted.


Al looked slightly crestfallen. Sam had to admit he enjoyed getting a leg up on Al every once in a while.


“How’d you know?” Al asked.


“Because I just stopped him from nearly breaking Kimberly’s wrist when she rejected him,” Sam explained.


“That nozzle!”


“She’s okay, Al.”


“No, Sam, you changed history!”


Sam’s stomach plummeted. Al’s tone told him that it was not a change for the better.


“Oh, no,” Sam whispered. “What happened?”


Al punched the handlink. “In the original history, Kimberly gave into the date tomorrow night.”


“Probably to get him to stop hurting her.”


“Exactly. It was on the date where he rapes and kills her. Now that you stopped Jeremy before Kimberly could give in, she gets killed tonight!”


“Damn!” Sam cried, kicking at the asphalt. “When tonight?”


“At 6:34 pm. Her body is still found on the band field,” Al replied sullenly.


Sam groaned, massaging his temples. He had done it again. It was bad enough when history changed for the worse due to an innocent mistake, but when it went downhill because Sam did what was right; it made Sam’s insides squirm. It gave Sam an unsettling indication that his actions, whatever they were, were utterly useless.


“Okay, look, Sam,” Al said. “Go on back in and stick to Kimberly like glue! You’ve got to figure out how to keep that bastard away from Kimberly!” With that, Al vanished.


Sam ran back into the band room and got to his seat. Kimberly was already seated cross-legged in the chair, still nursing her wrist. It was already bruising and beginning to swell. A flame of anger swept over Sam. The thought of any man intentionally and maliciously hurting a woman made his blood boil.


If I so much as see him look at her again, Sam thought angrily. I’ll beat him senseless.


Sam leaned over to Kimberly and whispered, “You’ll need to put some ice on that when you get home.”


“I know, I will,” she whispered back.


The last ninety minutes of rehearsal ebbed slowly. Jeremy was in Sam’s direct eyesight from across the room, and several malevolent glares were exchanged between the two.


At long last, the rehearsal was over and the band was set free. Kimberly stood up, faced Sam, and gave him a hug. Sam held her and his stomach tightened. He suddenly remembered his daughter Sammy Jo. Sam knew that he would make anyone who would hurt his daughter in any way pay dearly for it - when he leaped home, that is. Kimberly was someone’s daughter and Sam was going to make damn sure he was going to act on behalf of all fathers everywhere.


“Thanks again,” Kimberly whispered.


She smiled sweetly at Sam. Then she left his side, put up her things, and walked out of the door. Sam started to follow her to make sure she got to her car safely, when Nathan grabbed his arm.


“What did you do?” Nathan cried.


“What do you mean?” Sam asked, slightly frustrated that Kimberly was still unprotected outside.


“How’d you turn the drill sergeant into a regular human being?” Nathan asked, pointing to where Kimberly left.


“Hey,” Sam said sternly, “cut her some slack, Nate. She’s going through a lot of stress that you can’t even being to understand right now.”


Sam quickly brushed past a stunned Nathan and rushed out of the band room. Sam rounded the corner to see Kimberly standing up against the hallway wall talking to three of her girlfriends. Sam couldn’t catch what they were saying so he nonchalantly moved closer.


“So when are you going to do the prank?” one of her friends asked.


“I’ll get to the band field about six tonight and set it up on the tower then,” Kimberly replied.


Sam’s heart leapt into his throat. She was going to the scene of her rape and murder! Sam watched her say her goodbyes to her friends then walk down the hall away from Sam. He rushed forward to catch up with her.


In his hurry, Sam failed to notice as he passed, Jeremy lurking around the corner. He had a pen to his palm and had written down everything Kimberly had just said.





Green Valley Band Room, July 30th, 1999, 1:10pm


“Kimberly!” Sam called, catching up to her in the parking lot. “You’re coming back here tonight?”


She rounded upon him as quick as lightning. “You heard me?” she cried. “Underclassmen aren’t supposed to know about the senior prank!”


“Yes,” Sam replied, “and you can’t come back tonight!”


“I have to, Adam,” Kimberly said, puzzled by his insistence.


“Well, can’t you do it tomorrow or Sunday?” Sam asked.


“No!” Kimberly cried. “I’m going out of town Saturday morning for the weekend. Plus, I’m section leader; it’s my job! Remember my ‘perfect senior year’? This is part of it, so please, just drop it and pretend you’re surprised on Monday.”


She stormed off, got into her truck, and peeled out before Sam could do anything else. Sam then startled as a car horn blared, followed by shouts of his name… well, Adam’s name. Ms. Bradstreet was beckoning her son to her car and Sam had to reluctantly oblige.




After peeling out of the parking lot, leaving Adam in her dust, Kimberly turned on her cell phone so she could call her father. She had some plans with her friends, so it was official family policy that she call her parents and tell them every intricate detail.


“Hey Dad,” Kimberly said when he picked up.


“Hi sweetie,” he replied.


“I’m going out to eat with my band friends. We’re going to Applebee’s and will be there for a few hours. Is that okay?”


“Yeah sweetie, that’s fine. So, how was band camp?”


“Oh, uh,” she stammered. “It went fine. We played inside today.” She looked at her bruising wrist. She’d just tell them that she fell down the stairs or something.


“Well, when you get home we need you to—” the line dropped. Kimberly pulled her phone off her ear and looked at it. It was dead; her battery charge had run out.


“Crap,” she muttered. “And my charger’s at home.” She opened her glove compartment and threw it inside.




The whole ride home, Sam fidgeted worriedly, eliciting a few odd glances from his mother.


“Okay, Adam,” his mother said as they got home, “you remember that your grandparents are coming this weekend?”


“Uh… I guess so,” Sam said, who, of course, didn’t know.


“And that means you are not leaving the house under any circumstances because you have to clean,” she continued, dropping her keys on a table by the front door.


Sam froze in panic. Thinking quick on his feet, Sam said, “Mr. McKenzie called for another emergency rehearsal tonight at six.”


“Well, you’re just going to miss it, Adam,” she said. “I need you here. Now get upstairs.”


Sam tried to argue, but his mother turned and left the room. He then heard the telltale whoosh. Al was there.


“Upstairs, now!” Sam whispered urgently.


“I… uh… okay,” Al stammered, punching the handlink’s keys and disappearing.


Sam rushed to his room to find Al “sitting” on his bed.


“What’s up?” Al asked, concerned about Sam’s tone.


“Kimberly is going back to the field tonight, Al!” Sam cried.


“Sam, you’ve got to stop her!”


“No kidding, Al. I’m trying to. I’ve got to figure out how to get past her down there,” Sam replied, thrusting his thumb toward his mother down the hall. He began to fitfully pace the room. “I’ve got to change Kimberly’s mind somehow.”


As Sam paced back and forth the room a few more times, an idea hit him. He quickly rounded on Al, his eyes bright.


“Al,” Sam said, moving toward the telephone. “Have Ziggy pull up Kimberly’s phone numbers, home and cell.”


“Attaboy, Sam,” Al said, pulling up the information. “Ah, c’mon, Ziggy! Damn you, you worthless piece of…” He beat the handlink, punishing it for the delay on information. “There we go! Okay, home number: 215-3303.”


“Ziggy’s never going to speak to you again,” Sam said, dialing the phone number.


“Eh, I’ll bring her flowers,” Al retorted.


Sam waited anxiously as the phone rang, praying that she was there. The line picked up and an older man’s voice was on the other side.


“Chase residence,” the man said.


“Um, hello,” Sam said, “May I speak to Kimberly, please?”


“She’s not home yet from band camp,” her father said and Sam’s heart dropped. It fell lower still when Kimberly’s father continued with, “She’s out with some friends and won’t be back for a few hours. Can I give her a message?”


Sam considered it but how would he explain it? He decided to hold off scaring them until it was necessary. If it came down to it, though, Sam would definitely call in the cavalry.


“Uh, no, thank you,” Sam said. He added emphatically, “but please, have her call me back. I’m Sam… er, Adam Bradstreet. I’m in band with her.”


“Your number’s on our caller ID. I’ll have her call you,” her father replied.


“Thank you,” Sam said, hanging up.


“She’s not home?” Al asked incredulously.


“Dammit,” Sam groaned. “Give me her cell number!”


“Okay…uh… 823-2393.”


Sam dialed and waited anxiously once again. He didn’t have long to wait, however. The phone went immediately to voicemail.


“No!” Sam cried, making Al jump. “It’s not turned on!”


“Oh, Kimberly… you are the one teenage girl without that thing on at all times.” Al muttered.


Upon hearing her answering machine message (which Sam would’ve thought funny and inventive if he weren’t so panic-stricken), he began leaving his message.


“Kimberly! This is Adam. I really, really need you to call me back. Please, it’s a big emergency! Your dad has my number so please call me back!” He hung up and flopped on the bed next to Al, defeated.


“What am I going to do?” Sam whispered to no one in particular.


“Are you working up there?” he heard his mother call down the hall. “Everything has to be in pristine order before you do anything outside the house!”


“I know!!” Sam yelled, glad to be able to vent off some of him frustration. He then muttered bitterly, “That’s the problem.”


“Okay, okay,” Al said. “Here’s the plan. You’ve got five and a half hours until you need to be at the band field. I’ll get back to the complex and see what else we can do. You clean your brains out, kid.”


Sam nodded in agreement. He couldn’t think of anything else that could’ve been done. “Al,” he said hollowly. “I want you to center in on Kimberly every once in a while. I need to make sure she’s okay.”


“I will, pal. I’ll center on that Jeremy kid too.”


“Thanks, Al,” Sam said just before Al vanished.


Sam slaved away for hours and hours, doing every job as fast yet efficient as possible, so that he wouldn’t need to do it again. He worked nonstop pausing only to call Kimberly’s still turned off cell phone every thirty minutes, and to leave multiple messages that were increasing in urgency. Sam prayed that Kimberly was okay, and that he would get there in time.




Kimberly met up with her friends at the Applebee’s down the road from the school. The hostess seated her among eight of her friends. Instantly, her friends were all in an uproar.


“What happened to you?” her friend Robert said, pointing to her wrist. 


“What? This?” Kimberly said, trying to joke it off.  “Stairs are my worst enemy.”


“Don’t lie!” a girl named Ashley cried. “That’s not from a fall down the stairs. He did that to you, didn’t he?”


“Who?” Robert asked as Kimberly’s head hung.


“No one,” Kimberly muttered.


“This maniac who’s stalking Kimberly. Jeremy Payne,” Ashley said.


“Did he really?” Robert asked.


Kimberly sighed. “Yeah, he did, okay? But seriously, just drop it, guys!”


The waitress came to the table and stopped the conversation from going any further. The large group dined and talked uproariously in the back corner booth. Hours passed, but the group was still talking and laughing.


Al had popped in twice unnoticed to check of Kimberly’s safety. He had been alternating popping in on Kimberly and Jeremy and was slightly unnerved by what seemed to be a momentary lag in the centering process. The average person would just dismiss the small blip in the system, but Al immediately picked up on it, and fretted about it.


Maybe I’m just being paranoid.


As Al gazed upon Kimberly, he couldn’t help but reflect on his daughters - his five precious souls whom Al would do anything to protect. His thoughts drifted to Christa. Kimberly was remarkably like his youngest daughter, from her hair and facial features to her personality. This made this leap slightly personal to Al; it was as if they were saving his own daughter.


Al hung around the group, smiling and laughing along with their antics, though he was never seen or heard. There were jokes told, stories exchanged (Al chuckled particularly hard at the “senior rendition” of Sam’s accident the day before), and even some silverware and food took flight.


“So, what’s the plan for the senior prank, Kimberly?” Robert asked, taking a sip from his Diet Coke.


“Oh, it’s a good one!” Ashley cried, who apparently was in on it.


Kimberly laughed. “It is indeed, if I say so myself,” she replied playfully. “I’m turning the tower into a TV.”


Ashley burst out laughing while the others gave quizzical looks.


“Think about it guys,” Kimberly said. “What’s Big Mac always saying?” She adopted a deep, gravely voice and said, “‘Take ownership of the band, but it will always be the “Harold McKenzie Show”!’”


“Well, that makes sense,” Al muttered sarcastically.


“I hate it when he says that,” Robert said. “It’s so stupid.”


“Yeah, seriously,” Kimberly replied. “So here’s the prank. I have a giant plywood TV set that I’m going to hook up to the top of the tower. It says ‘The Harold McKenzie Show’ on it. He’ll be looking through it to watch the band and, from where we’ll be standing, it’ll look like it’s him on the screen.”


Robert and everyone else cracked up laughing. Al chuckled as well. He had to admit, it was a good prank. The handlink gave a loud squeal and Al checked it out.


“Okay Dom, I’m on my way,” Al said. He punched in the code but, instead of immediately vanishing from 1999, the handlink groaned, acting as if it had stalled. It took a few extra seconds but Al finally disappeared.


“So you have to go home and get it?” Ashley asked.


Kimberly checked her watch and said, “Nah, it’s five-thirty. It’s in the back of my truck so I’ll just head on to the school from here.”


Once the meal was finally over, and the bills and tips were paid, the group moved to the parking lot. After saying goodbyes and promises to ice her wrist (Robert offered to beat Jeremy up for her, which she adamantly refused), Kimberly climbed into her truck and sped off toward the school.





Project Quantum Leap,

September 5, 2007


Back at Project Quantum Leap, Al exited the Imaging Chamber and walked directly up to Dom. The programmer was hunched over Ziggy’s console, furiously punching buttons, and flipping switches.


“What’s the problem Dom?” Al asked, pulling Dom away from the console.


“We are experiencing an increased lag in Ziggy’s programming.” 


“Yeah, I noticed that. Ziggy wouldn’t immediately center me when I was going back and forth between Kimberly and Jeremy.”


“That’s where the problem first became apparent. It’s getting worse now,” Dom replied, slightly frantic. He quickly flipped a succession of switches. “Now, I put in a command, and it takes two full minutes before Ziggy even begins to execute it.”


Al began to worry. Two minutes could mean life or death for Kimberly. “Dom, get on it! If it comes down to the wire, we won’t have two minutes to spare.”


Al placed the handlink on the counter next to Dom, helpless to do anything until the problem was resolved. A slow shadow of movement to his right caught Al’s attention. He looked across the Control Room and did the slightest of double takes as his daughter, Christa, entered the room. While having limited access in the complex, she still was able to come down to the Control Room if under authorized escort. That escort turned out to be her mother. Christa and Beth had been having a girl’s day while Christa’s husband worked. It involved manicures, facials, makeovers, and other activities that Al steered clear of.


Christa saw her father and called, “Hey, Dad.”


“Hi, baby,” Al replied. He walked swiftly across the room to meet her. He enveloped her in a tight embrace and just held onto her. He sighed and rocked her back and forth.


“Dad, what’s the matter? What’s wrong?” Christa asked worriedly.


“Nothing, sweetheart,” Al sighed, pulling her back to face him. He glanced at the scars that adorned her cheeks. He’d almost lost her - twice, in fact - but she was back where she belonged. Al remembered how helpless he felt when Zoë (of course, he didn’t realize that it was Zoë at the time) took her. This leap was becoming very personal.  “Do you know how much I love you?”


Christa grinned. “I have an inkling.”


Al chuckled and embraced his daughter again. “I love you so much.”


“I love you too, Dad,” Christa said. Al planted a kiss on his daughter’s forehead.


“Um, excuse me, Admiral,” Dom called, not really wanting to interrupt. “We’re on line now.”


Al pulled back. “See you at dinner,” he whispered to Christa. She nodded and left the room. Al then quickly crossed to Dom. “Are you sure?”


“Yes, sir,” Dom replied. “Ziggy’s back to normal.”


Al picked up the handlink and said, “Okay, Dom, center me on Kimberly.” Al stepped into the Chamber and the images of 1999 began to materialize in front of him.


He was back at the band field. He searched around for any sign of movement, and saw Kimberly walking down the long set of stairs, lugging around a large and cumbersome plywood TV set. Al walked across the field to walk by her side, wishing he could help her carry her burden. She seemed to be struggling.


Al sat down and remained on the field as Kimberly began to drag the giant TV set up the winding stairs of the band tower. Soon she was at the top with all her tools around her. Al watched as she worked, checking his watch periodically. It was 5:55pm and by the look of Kimberly’s progress, she would be done and gone by the time danger came.


However, technology had other plans. As Kimberly drilled in a screw, her power tool slowed to a stop. She searched through her bag and found nothing but a few brackets, screwdrivers, screws, and a bottle of water. She had neglected to pack a replacement battery.


“You’re a genius, Kim,” she muttered bitterly to herself. “You remember to pack actual screwdrivers, but you forget the battery!” Having to resort to the manual route, she continued her work.


Despite Kimberly’s slowed progress, Al still felt at ease about their timing. A half hour had passed, and Kimberly had two screws left to put in, with five minutes to spare. Al believed that they were in the clear. Kimberly would be pulling out of the school before Jeremy could harm her. Suddenly, the tiny hairs on his neck prickled, and a chill went traveled down his spine. Al had the unshakable feeling that they were being watched.


Al stood up and turned slowly, searching everywhere around them. His gaze fell upon a shadow kneeling on a nearby hill, and he gasped aloud. It was Jeremy. Al kicked himself; he had been sitting with his back to the hill almost the entire time. Who knows how long he had been watching Kimberly?


“Oh, God, no!” Al cried. “Dom, center me on Sam!!” He disappeared and popped in to find Sam kneeling in front of a toilet, cleaning the bowl.


“SAM!” he yelled, sending Sam jumping sky high. “Kimberly is alone on the field right now and Jeremy is there too!”


Sam quickly checked his watch. “Oh, God!” Sam cried, sprinting out of the bathroom. Not thinking, Sam ran straight toward the front door.


“Where are you going?” his mother called sharply.


Sam whipped around and cried, “I need to go to band field!”


“I told you, Adam, you are missing the rehearsal! I need to you to finish cleaning,” she said sternly. She then turned and walked out of the room. Sam glanced down at the table and saw his mother’s keys. Sam wasn’t fourteen; he could drive. He grabbed the keys, and then bolted out of the door.


“Go, Sam, go!” Al yelled.


“Stay with her Al!” Sam cried. “I’ll be there in two minutes!”


“You better hurry, Kimberly’s got only five!” Al called, then disappeared from Sam’s view.



Band Field, 6:29pm


Kimberly secured the last metal clamp around the tower pole, making sure that the giant wooden TV set wouldn’t fall to the ground. She stood up and swayed a little bit. She never realized how high the band tower really was until she reached the top. She had a slight fear of heights, but she sucked it up.


“McKenzie’s braver than we thought,” she said aloud.


Her eyes then fell on a figure on the ground, moving towards the tower. It was a boy wearing baggy black pants and an oversized black hoodie with the hood pulled over his head. A chill ran down Kimberly’s spine.


“Can I help you?” Kimberly called down.


The man slowly turned his head upward, his hood falling back as he did so. Kimberly gasped and her blood ran cold. His blonde hair and cold eyes gave it away—it was Jeremy.


“I figured you could use some help,” Jeremy offered, feigning a knightly image.


“How the hell did you know about this?” Kimberly demanded. “This was just a clarinet thing. Baritones weren’t involved!”


“Yeah, well,” Jeremy said, stepping closer to the stairs that led to the tower’s top, “It may be a big band, but things do get around kind of fast. So, what do you want me to do?”


Leave and never come back, Kimberly pleaded internally. However, she called, “Actually, I’m all done here. I was just about to climb down and go home.”


Jeremy’s face hardened slightly. “But this looks so simple!” he cried, stepping closer still. “You need to put more on it!”


“It’s fine, Jeremy!” Kimberly called back sternly. “If I think of anything else to do with it, I’ll come back over the weekend. I don’t want you here!”


Jeremy stopped walking and glared up at Kimberly. “You don’t want me?” he said menacingly.


Kimberly panicked. “Need,” she attempted to recover. “I-I don’t need your help. Thanks anyway, though!”


Jeremy thought for a second then replied, “Alright, that’s fine. I’ll see you Monday.”


He turned away and Kimberly breathed a huge sigh of relief. She bent down and pretended to be rechecking the TV’s bindings but kept an eye on Jeremy’s retreating back. She was not leaving that tower until she could see his taillights shrinking in the distance.


Jeremy took a few steps forward, but then stopped suddenly. Kimberly’s eyes widened as he turned back around to face her, and started toward the tower once again.


“You know what I think, Kimberly?” Jeremy asked as his pace quickened. “There was more to what you said earlier about you not wanting me. That’s just it…you don’t want me.” He was at the bottom stair. “Why don’t you want to be with me?” he screamed, making Kimberly jump.


“Please,” Kimberly pleaded, nearly in tears. “Please, just go.”


“No!” He screamed, storming up the winding stairs. “I’m coming up there and you’re telling me why you don’t want me!”


Kimberly cried out, “No! Jeremy, no!” She leapt on the trap door that opened to the tower’s top to keep him from coming through. All the while she yelled, “Help! Someone help me, please!


“It’s Friday night and you’re at the school. Who do you think will be here?” Jeremy roared as he reached the trap door. “Open the door, Kimberly!”


“No! Leave me alone!” she screamed back.


“Open the goddamn door!” he yelled.


“Go away!” Kimberly sobbed.


Jeremy thrust his shoulder against the trap door, which gave away under Kimberly’s tiny figure. She screamed for him to stop, but Jeremy threw himself against it again. It jostled Kimberly enough to give Jeremy leverage to burst through. He stood over her trembling form.


“Now, where were we?” Jeremy said in a sort of calm that chilled Kimberly to the bone. “Oh yeah, I remember.”


He grabbed Kimberly’s arms and pulled her upright. He then threw her back into the railing and Kimberly cried out in pain. She tried to back away from him and found herself in the corner of the tower, sobbing.


“Jeremy, what do you want? Please, just leave me alone,” Kimberly whimpered.


“Since you’re asking…” Jeremy purred and advanced on her.


He bent in and kissed her forcefully, ripping open her blouse. Kimberly squealed and attempted to wriggle out of his grasp. She finally gained leverage and shoved him off of her. Kimberly tried to run away, frantically pulling on the trap door. Jeremy stomped hard on her already injured wrist, shattering it on impact, and backhanded her sharply across her face. Her head snapped to the side, but she was far from stunned. She quickly kicked upward, hitting Jeremy squarely in the crotch. He collapsed instantly, gasping and moaning in pain. Kimberly wrenched open the trap door and ran frantically down the stairs.


Al appeared on the scene to find Kimberly staggering away from the band tower sobbing, desperately trying to run to safety.


“Go, kid! Run away! Get out of here!” Al yelled urging Kimberly onward.


“Get back here!” Jeremy yelled as he ran down the stairs after Kimberly.


He reached the ground and bolted after her with breakneck speed. Al rushed in front of Jeremy and swung a strong right hook that would’ve shattered the jaw of any man he could touch. Jeremy naturally didn’t feel a thing as he ran through Al and continued forward. Al cursed the fact that he was a hologram. He would’ve killed him right then and there.


Jeremy lunged and knocked Kimberly down who screamed, once again, for help.


“It’s coming, baby. Just hold on,” Al said, tears welling. “Sam! Where the hell are you?!”


Kimberly’s attacker flipped her to face him and pinned her to the ground. He straddled her and struck her face again and again. Both Kimberly and Al were helpless to do anything except scream for help.


“I’ll teach you to run from me!” Jeremy snarled, grasping her throat. “I’ll teach you a lesson you won’t soon forget!”


“SAM! Get over here now!!” Al screamed as he saw Jeremy hands reach toward his belt buckle.



Band Field, 6:31pm


Sam sped down the highway towards school. The average five-minute trip for any sane driver became a two-minute drag race to Sam. He whipped around the corner as he turned sharply into the school’s parking lot, and wound his way to the back lot that was adjacent to the field. His tires screeched as he slammed on his brakes. He nearly kicked open the door trying to exit, and sprinted across the lot to the top of the hill that overlooked the field. In horror, he saw Jeremy pinning Kimberly to the ground and beating her relentlessly, with Al standing helpless at her side.


Al looked at the top of the hill where Sam was standing. “SAM! Get over here now!!”


Sam leapt forward and ran down the hill as fast as his legs and gravity could carry him. Staggering slightly as he hit flat land, Sam sped towards Jeremy.


“Get off of her!” Sam yelled as he barreled straight into him. The two of them rolled a few feet. Kimberly was up like a shot. She ran away and collapsed behind a wall that lined the back of the field.


Sam was a little disoriented from the rolling, but a sudden sharp pain in his gut quickly brought him back to reality. Jeremy had been the first to leap from the ground and had kicked Sam hard in the stomach. Sam jumped up, but before he knew what happened, Jeremy landed a right cross directly into Sam’s nose.


For the second time in two days, bells were ringing in Sam’s head. He shook it off and brushed his hand across his nose; it became slick with blood. This kid knew how to fight. Sam couldn’t remember learning it, of course, but Sam knew how to fight too. He tapped into the martial arts knowledge in his brain and immediately stood in position.


Jeremy laughed at Sam’s stance. Sam lunged forward and took a swing. Jeremy ducked and quickly retaliated with a jab to Sam’s stomach. Sam wasn’t fazed, however. He landed a punch across Jeremy’s cheek that almost sent the angry teenager to the ground.


“I’ll kill you, Bradstreet!” Jeremy screamed. His eyes burning with anger, he advanced on Sam, swinging for his face. Sam quickly blocked it and punched Jeremy clear in the gut. Jeremy doubled over, gasping in pain. Sam executed a perfect high spin kick that connected with his jaw, sending Jeremy falling limply to the ground.


Sam bent down to make sure Jeremy was unconscious. “Kimberly?” Sam yelled when he was certain the girl’s assailant wasn’t coming off the ground any time soon.


“Over here, Sam!” Al called.


Sam looked around to see Al crouching next to Kimberly who was sitting against the stone wall, clutching her wrist and crying.


“Her wrist is broken, but she’s okay, Sam,” Al told him as he ran toward Kimberly and fell to the ground in front of her.


She was shaking horribly, her breath coming in short gasps as she sobbed hysterically. She had her head on her knees and she rocked back in forth. Sam saw that her blouse has been ripped open and cringed.


“Kimberly?” Sam whispered, trying to get her attention. “Hey, Kimberly.” Sam gently touched her chin and lifted her head. She startled slightly at the touch, but when she saw Sam kneeling in front of her, she relaxed slightly.


“Adam?” she breathed.


“Shh, shh. Yeah, sweetie, it’s me,” Sam hushed.


Sam looked up at her bruised face and swore under his breath at the damage. Both of her eyes were bruising, but her right eye was almost swollen shut. Her nose was bleeding still, but it didn’t seem to be broken. Tiny cuts adorned her cheeks and lip.


“Oh God, Adam,” Kimberly whispered, her voice trembling. “I’ve never been so scared in my life.”


“Neither have I,” Sam heard Al say from behind.


Sam’s eye flickered down and his stomach twisted when he saw her wrist. It was swollen to twice the normal size and was bruised with an array of nauseating colors. There was no doubt that it was shattered.


Sam unbuttoned and removed his own shirt and helped her put her quivering arms through the sleeves, careful not to aggravate her wrist.   As Sam was buttoning it up, she dissolved into tears once again. Sam pulled her into his arms, rubbing her back and petting her hair soothingly.


“His eyes…” she whimpered. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget that look in his eyes.”


Sam’s eyes brimmed with tears. When he glanced at Al, he saw there were tears in his eyes as well.


“It’s over, sweetheart,” Sam said. “He’s not going to hurt you anymore.”





Band Field, July 30th, 2003, 6:51pm


After borrowing the cell phone of a passing jogger, Sam called the police, the paramedics and Kimberly’s parents. When the cops questioned Sam, he explained everything that had happened that night as well as the day before at band camp. An EMT checked Sam out and gave him an ice pack for his busted nose. Sam watched as two policemen put Jeremy into the back of a squad car and departed from the scene.


Sam looked over and saw Kimberly sitting in the back of an ambulance, being held by her mother and father. She wasn’t crying, but she was still visibly shaken up as an EMT placed a makeshift cast around her shattered wrist, while another applied antibiotic ointment and butterfly bandages to the cuts on her face.


Al, who had never left Sam’s side since the help arrived, gently smiled at his best friend, “You did good today, kid.”


Never breaking his gaze on Kimberly, Sam asked, “What happens to her, Al?”


Al pulled the handlink from his breast pocket and punched the buttons. “She turns out great, Sam. She graduates this year valedictorian,” he replied.


Sam looked over and smiled. “That’s great, Al.”


“There’s more. She gets a full-ride scholarship to Auburn University , where she graduated highest in her class with a major in…” Al left it open for Sam to finish.


“It’s music, isn’t it?” Sam asked.


“You got it,” Al replied. “She’s going to go far. She is now the first chair of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and has been for the past year. She got married her senior year of college and she had two kids.”


Sam smiled in satisfaction. “What about Adam?”


“He does well, Sam. He graduates in four years in the top ten percent of his class. He attends Auburn University as well, but comes in as a junior. He majors in music - big surprise - and he is an assistant band director at Brandywine High School . You both do fine in life.”


“Now that Kimberly has one,” Sam said, looking back over to the ambulance. He saw her walk towards him and he stood to meet her.


“How are you?” Kimberly asked timidly.


“Ah, the nose will heal,” Sam said, shrugging. “The more important thing is that you are okay.”


“I can’t thank you enough, Adam,” Kimberly said. “You saved my life.” She threw he arms around Sam’s neck and hugged him tightly.


Sam hugged her back, relieved that she was alive and well. Kimberly apparently wasn’t planning on letting go anytime soon, so it was Sam who broke the embrace.


“Look, you should get back over there,” he told her, nodding his head toward the ambulance. “You need to get your wrist fixed up.”


“Yeah, you know, I didn’t even know it was broken until you got here,” Kimberly said, smiling.


“Get some rest. I’ll see you Monday.”


“Okay,” she replied. She quickly stepped forward and kissed Sam lightly on the cheek. She turned and walked away, glancing behind her shoulder and smiling.


Al chuckled behind Sam.


“Al?” Sam asked, watching Kimberly leave and touching his cheek. “What about Kimberly and Adam?”


“Kimberly and Adam? I just …oh! You meant Kimberly and Adam,” Al said. “They keep in contact for years and even end up at the same wedding ceremony.”


“So, it’s Adam she marries?”


Al laughed. “No, Sam. He’s in her wedding. She does things a little unconventional and has Adam as her maid of honor. They’re best friends to this day.”


Sam burst out laughing. “Different but not unheard of. I’m just thrilled that she’s going to be alright.”


“Like I said, kid… you did good.”


“Al,” Sam said, suddenly pensive. “When you go back, hug Sammy Jo for me and tell her how much I love her.”


Al was pleasantly surprised at Sam’s memory of his daughter. He would’ve patted Sam’s back if he could. “Of course, Sam. You know I will.”


Sam smiled in gratitude for his friend as he felt the familiar tingling sensation that preceded every leap. The beautiful sunset over the lush band field dissolved into a mass of blue flames. Sam felt himself being pulled away from the year 1999, his next destination a mystery.



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