VIRTUAL SEASONS EPISODES
With some leaps Dr. Sam Beckett is
dropped suddenly into situations where all his senses don't come online at
the same time. This leap was lead in by a hypnotic drone that was almost
comforting, and followed by the sense of a comfortable, padded seat
surrounding him like a womb. He settled deeply into the seat with a sigh
before his vision came into being, and opened his eyes to the distinctly
familiar sight of medical records. He blinked in confusion as he
momentarily tried to place the drone, and a sideways tilt of his head put
it all together: He was on an airplane - a small one that sat about a half
dozen individuals - and there was bearded man sitting next to him frowning
at his own pile of medical files.
Sam slowly turned his head and looked
out the window of the plane. Below him, all he saw was trees and hills, as
far as the eye could see. In the distance he saw a tendril of smoke
drifting skyward from the treetops and a collection of puffy clouds on the
He turned his attention back to the
pile of folders in his lap. The top one was open to the medical history of
Símon Delgado, a boy of 10. Sam quickly scanned the dry description of
the boy's health, attitude and physical health. When he flipped the papers
aside and saw the photograph of the boy, his heart immediately went out to
him, and he whispered shakily, "Oh, boy."
The utterance caused his seatmate to
turn and look at him. The humor that glittered in his eyes only accented
the sly grin. "Don't worry, Curt," he said warmly. "There
is civilization down there, trust me. Everything you can do will be not
only appreciated, but improve a lifestyle that is difficult at best on a
day-to-day basis." The man grasped Sam's wrist firmly for a moment,
and Sam immediately liked him.
Just as Sam began to feel good about
this leap, his newfound friend stood and dropped his files on the empty
seat. "I'll get you a coffee. Really, you'll do great. We've only
lost one doctor. Just take the 'Beware of Crocodiles' signs
Sam jerked his head back to the man's
face in fright. He wasn't sure if the grin he saw was accenting a joke or
not, and still wasn't sure as the man chuckled and walked to the back of
September 20, 1981
Over South America
whispered. "Where are we going?" He flipped the folder in his
lap closed and read softly out loud the printing on the outside. " 'Medecins
Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders'. I must be a doctor." He
scanned the folder with more interest this time, and realized before he
got to the final page that this boy's problem was beyond Sam's ability to
fix. This boy needed a specialist. "And that specialist must be who I
leaped into." He glanced upward hopefully. "I only hope this
isn't the reason I leaped because I can't do this!"
"Sure you can, Curt." Sam's
seatmate had returned and passed him a cup of coffee. "The local
hospital has one surgery suite and it's clean. We have everything else we
need: Nurses, autoclave, and instruments. If you can't finish here, we can
get donations to bring the boy north. Anything's possible with a little
faith. Just remember that."
Sam nodded sickly and sipped the brew
in quiet as he studied the landscape below. He wanted to know where they
were going, but knew such a question would be taken as very odd. He'd have
to wait for Al to fill him in. After a moment, his new friend began to
"I know you're nervous about
this whole thing, Curt. I mean, I've tried to get you to come on one of
these junkets for years now. I know you can help. I also know that the
last year has been tough on you, and I want you to know that we're all
here to help. I think you'll find the personal fulfillment all that you
need." The man playfully nudged Sam with his elbow. "Trust
Sam smiled sickly. Why did he get the
feeling that there was more here than met his eyes? Isn't that the way
these leaps had been going lately?
It wasn't long before the plane
started to descend. Sam watched out the window nervously; he couldn't see
an airport in sight in the sea of trees. Just when he thought the tops of
the trees were going to start slapping the belly of the plane, the sound
of the Imaging Chamber door made him jump and clench his seat arms
tighter. The bright rectangle of the open door appeared directly in front
of him, and Al stepped into his world resplendent in an ensemble of teal
and purple complete with customary fedora and smoldering cigar.
"Sam! How's it going, buddy?
Enjoying the flight? I see you've figured out who you work for." The
bright rectangle disappeared behind him, and the Observer took a step back
so that only his torso was visible above the seatback in front of Sam. He
pointed at the red folder with the MSF logo on the front. He took in Sam's
glare and white knuckled grip on the armrests and looked around. "Oh,
these small planes wiggle a lot on approach." He looked out the
window, following the tilt of Sam's head. "Don't worry. There's an
airstrip ahead. Man, it's a hoot landing on dirt strips! I didn't get the
chance to do that too much." The look on Sam's face told him he
hadn't reassured his friend much. "Jeeze, Sam, just close your eyes,
for Pete's sake. It'll be okay. The plane doesn't crash or anything."
Al glanced around the fuselage. "Hey, I gotta check out the cockpit.
I love these old C-12s - I flew quite a few of these in the Navy." He
gave the tense scientist a quick once over and snorted in disgust.
"You ain't gonna hear a word I say until your feet are safely on
terra firma, anyway. Be right back." With a few taps on the handlink,
the hologram blinked out of existence.
The landing was surprisingly soft,
and Sam exhaled in relief when they came to a safe stop. His new friend
laughed shortly at Sam's discomfort and stood to disembark. Before Sam
reached the hatch he could feel the hot, humid outside air hit him. When
he stepped from the plane, the heat nearly took his breath away and he was
instantly sweating. He gripped the stair railing tightly as he stepped
down and hoped he'd adjust to the climate quickly.
For the first time Sam saw the others
on the plane and noted how friendly they were to each other. This
obviously wasn't a new experience for any of them as they greeted the
ground crew with familiarity. Sam was directed to a waiting Land Rover and
joined by several women.
"Hi, Dr. Denton. What do you
think of our little slice of paradise?" one jolly woman asked.
"Perfect weather to cleanse the pores!" The other two women
joined her in her laughter. They all dabbed their foreheads with
handkerchiefs. Sam smiled nervously and nodded in agreement.
As the driver, a small Hispanic man
with brown teeth and calloused hands started the dusty vehicle Al popped
back into Sam's vision and hovered outside the door.
"All right. Now that you've
landed in one piece, I'll give you the details we have so far." He
brought the link up, cleared his throat, and started to read. "You've
leaped into Curt Denton, a doctor from a very small town outside of
Cleveland. Ha! Dr. Denton! That's a good one, Sam! Bring your jammies?"
He noticed the blank look on Sam's face and continued after clearing his
throat. "Uh, never mind. Anyway, he's recently widowed; or is that
widower'd? You're - he's - 64 years old, in good health, and a respected
physician in his community. He also has surgical rights at his local
hospital, and is known for a steady and talented hand although his
specialty isn't surgery."
He looked up and saw the wide-eyed
panic of Sam's face.
"Don't worry, Sam, I don't think
you're here for that. Well, Dr. Denton is, but not you. It seems that Curt
Denton, although known for his benevolence in his community, has resisted
joining Doctors Without Borders for many years. Now that his wife is dead
and he's alone, he changed his mind, I guess. Anyway, this is his first
trip south of the border - you're in Venezuela, by the way - and it seems
whispered. The ride was noisy and dusty and rough, and the driver didn't
notice that he'd spoken.
"Yup, without a trace on
September 21, 1981. The organization has some sort of buddy system thing
that they're very strict about, and it seems that Dr. Denton didn't follow
the rules. You're here to see that he does which would insure that he's
around to perform the specialized surgery he was brought here to do.
There's a 10-year-old boy who needs his help and you're here to see that
the boy gets it."
"What happened?" Sam
Al shrugged. "No one really
knows. He was there one evening and gone the next morning. Never seen
again. They assume he got up in the night to take care of business, if you
catch my drift, got lost and more than likely killed and carried off by a
predator." The Observer waved a hand around him at the jungle
circling them. "I'm glad I'm a hologram. There's all sorts of
critters out there I don't wanna meet. Besides, I had enough of jungles in
'Nam, thank you very much." He glanced up at Sam and read his
expression. "He disappears tomorrow night. Just follow the rules
about buddies, Sam, and you should be all right. The surgery is scheduled
for three days from now." He called for the Chamber door. "Get
settled in, and I'll check in on you later when we can talk. Bye,
Sam held on tight as the Land Rover
bounced over the narrow, rutted road. The jungle loomed green and lush all
around them, and the sound of exotic birds pierced the air with shrieking
regularity. The heat and humidity made it feel like he was inhaling steam.
Sweat ran in rivulets down his back and temples, and he closed his eyes,
feeling dizzy. Just then, he felt something tap his shoulder.
"Take a drink, doc. You have to
keep hydrated." The plump, jolly nurse handed him a canteen.
"And only drink the water that's been sterilized in camp. This is
your first trip, isn't it?"
"Yeah," Sam replied weakly
after taking a sip.
She smiled warmly and spoke above the
noisy vehicle. "You'll do fine. Dr. Weitz has told us all about you.
Glad to see you finally came."
"Thanks," he sputtered,
then wiped his mouth and handed the canteen back. What he really wanted to
do was pour it over his head.
After awhile, when it seemed like the
road would wind on forever, the jungle gave way to an area that was clear
and Sam began to see a smattering of buildings. They were piecemeal huts
put together with whatever was on hand. He couldn't help but notice the
poorly dressed children on either side of the road playing in the dirt.
Every one of them stopped and watched the group of vehicles pass by, their
wide, dark eyes following them with suspicious interest. The occasional
shawl-draped mother spoke sharply to them in Spanish to keep away from the
The number of huts grew, as did the
quality of building, when they drew closer to the main part of the
village. There was a bustle of people on the sole main street, selling and
trading their wares under bright canopies. Sam's driver slowed down
considerably as they passed through town, and the driver waved and yelled
congenially to a few people.
At one point, the driver stopped to
allow a boy leading a goat to cross his path.
Sam looked around in curiosity when he saw an old man, a white man,
studying them with what Sam would describe as surprise. The man appeared
to be in his 60's, neatly dressed in khaki, holding a bag in one arm while
leaning on a walking cane. His mouth was slightly agape, his eyes wide
behind thick glassed. Sam
returned the visual inspection for a few moments, and then dropped his
head in self-consciousness. It was then that he realized how he stuck out
as a white man in this village and wondered what the man studying him was
doing here. Another doctor, perhaps? His thoughts were disrupted as the
vehicle jerked forward and his driver shouted a greeting to the goat boy.
On the other side of the village and
through another section of untamed rainforest Sam's little troupe finally
came to another cleared area of fairly sturdy looking buildings. His
vehicle came to a bumpy stop in front of a small shack and the women
poured out from the back.
"Home again!" one of them
laughed. They gathered the small packages they'd brought with them, and
the friendly woman extended her hand to Sam. "I'm Emily. I'm in
charge of the other nurses on this trip. Nice to meet you."
Sam took the hand gratefully and
shook it. "Nice to meet you, too. Is this your, um, house?" He
indicated the building next to them.
"No, that should be yours. It's
where Dr. Weitz usually stays. We nurses are closer to the main
building." She indicated a larger building farther up. "We'll
probably see you at dinner. Bye now!" With that, she took off at a
speed surprising for her weight. The other two women had difficulty
keeping up with her.
Sam felt a slap on is back and fought
to keep his feet. "I see you met Emily," Dr. Weitz said, his arm
draped around Sam's shoulders. "She's irreplaceable, and a damned
good nurse. We're lucky to have her. Well," he turned Sam to the
building before them. "Here ya go! Home for the next week!"
"Oh, boy," Sam said, weakly
cheerful as he wiped the sweat from his brow.
It didn't take Sam long to discover
that the humidity was only a secondary distraction; bugs easily took first
place in that category.
He had familiarized himself with the
layout and people, and even squeezed in a few basic health exams in the
time he had before dusk. The flies were a bother during the day, but they
were eclipsed by the onslaught of mosquitoes that appeared as soon as the
sun dropped below the tree line. Emily magically appeared at his side with
a bottle of repellant within minutes of the first attack.
"You'll get into the habit of
always having this within reach. And the netting over your bunk is the
first thing you check." Sam looked at her blankly as he smeared on
the cream and reluctantly rolled down and buttoned the cuff of his long
sleeved shirt. "Holes. Check the net for holes," Emily
clarified. Then she smiled warmly and patted his shoulder sympathetically.
"You'll get used to it. Trust me."
"Yeah," he breathed,
swatting a sting on his cheek. "All this trust better start paying
Emily laughed and moved on. After a
while Sam found he was the last one left in the exam area and decided it
was time to find some food. He moved around the room and straightened up
the counter tops and table, then turned off the few and feeble lights.
Outside, the small generator chugged in the darkness and Sam glanced out a
window, drawn by the noise. A motion in the dark caught his attention just
as the Imaging Chamber door clunk-shoomed behind him in the room. Sam
squinted at the motion outside.
"Hey, Sam, we got a little more
information." Sam continued to stare outside. "Sam? What are you
looking at? Whatever it is, it can't be as interesting as what we've found
- or not found, I should say."
The scientist was sure he'd seen the
outline of a person watching him in the shadows, but if there was someone
out there, they were gone now. "I just thought I saw. . . oh, never
mind." With a frown on his face he finally turned his attention to
his Observer. "What? What do you mean?"
"Ziggy's found and interesting
discrepancy in Curt Denton's background. It seems that there was no Curt
Denton living anywhere before 1956. It he sorta rose from the dead at that
The confused expression on Sam's face
made it clear to the hologram that he needed to explain further.
"Ziggy not only found Curt's
birth certificate, but his death certificate as well. It seems Curtis
Everett Denton was born and died in 1917 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was three
days old when he died."
Sam blinked and spoke slowly, his
mind racing. "So, you're telling me that I'm not Curt Denton? I stole
"That's what Ziggy says. That's
the most common way to pick up a new identity - find the death certificate
of a newborn and simply take the name. Easy as pie and old as the hills.
What we don't know is who Denton really is. Ziggy's working backwards from
Denton's last known address, but everything stops in 1956. We're assuming
that's when he picked up the identity."
"You have no idea where he comes
from? Did you ask him?"
"Yeah, but Beeks can't tell if
he really can't remember due to the recent stress of his wife dying or
he's lying. He's pretty befuddled, Sam. His memory is really
"Maybe there's something he'd rather not remember," Sam mused as he moved to the door. The room suddenly seemed too dark and close. It made him uneasy. "He's a skilled doctor according to everyone here and what Ziggy's found. Where did he get his medical training? Maybe that's a place to start."
"Well, any starting angle's a good one right now. We're getting nowhere." Al sighed and tapped on the glowing link. It looked like a handful of luminescent gummy bears mushed together in the Observer's hand. Between that, the swirling of the smoke from Al's cigar and the headache inducing chugging of the generator, Sam began to feel a little queasy.
"I need some sleep, Al, so check
back in the morning."
"Ok, will do. Hey, what about
that buddy system, Sam? Where's your buddy?"
Sam stuck his head out of the door
and saw the dark outline of Dr. Weitz in the doorway of their building,
chatting happily with a pair of women. "There he is. I'm leaving
now." He swatted at another biting varmint and stepped outside.
"See ya later."
"All right. Bye Sam." The
Imaging Chamber door opened in the frame of the building's door, and the
hologram was gone.
The camp area seemed much darker to
Sam because the glare from the Imaging Chamber had blinded him a little.
He rubbed his eyes and concentrated on the ground in front of him. He was
nearly to his cabin when he noticed a motion out of the corner of his eye.
When he snapped his head around, a dark form was moving away from him. It
looked like a man. "Hey," he said out loud.
"Curt! Come on over!" Dr.
Weitz's voice drew Sam's attention from the darkness. "See? You can't
stop helping now that you're here. I knew you'd do fine." The bearded
doctor glanced in the direction Sam had been looking. "Oh, critters
creep in and out of here all night. That's why it's best to say with
someone, especially after dark. Safety in numbers, you know. Coming to bed
now? Usually we play some cards after dark because there's not much else
to do, but I can see you're tired."
"Yeah," Sam said. "I
am." He stepped up on the porch and then into his small room. Bed was
sounding pretty good. Soon, he was under the net and safe from the
aggravating bites. Their screechy hum was even more apparent as the
generators were shut down, one by one, for the night. The heat of the day
ebbed with the night, but the humidity hovered, unchanged.
With his arms behind his head and his
light blanket thrown back over his hips, Sam listened to his roommate
settle into his own bunk. After few minutes the final generator fell
silent. It wasn't long before the leaper was lulled to sleep by the
lullaby of the frogs and crickets and bugs surrounding them.
Neither one of them woke when the
shadow slowly and silently slipped into their cabin. The form's breath was
laboring and shaky, but that didn't stop it from making its way to the
net-draped bed. The shadow leaned heavily on a walking cane, careful not
to bump into the side of the bed, and stood next to Sam's bunk. The
darkness encased head tilted down to stare at the sleeping man.
The shadow's hands slowly clenched
into fists, and after a moment, took a step back and made its way back out
into the night.
There was screaming and begging.
Although I didn't recognize the language in my dreams, the tone of the
words and the position of the people I saw made it clear they were
The people looked like skeletons.
Their eyes were huge, black and round. Their teeth were white and clearly
visible as their lips were pulled back in horrific, skeletal grins. Their
hands - long and thin tipped with chipped, dirty nails - reached towards
me like they were rising out of the grave. Once they were men; now they
were ghosts clad in rotting rags, kneeling in front of me, begging. I
don't know what they were begging for, but their wails circled around me
until I felt enshrouded in them. Their hands clawed at my legs, and their
eyes - those dark, hollow eyes - reflected pain and sorrow without a hint
My throat closes as their fingers
crawl up my chest and find my neck . . . I can't breathe . . .
Sam jerked awake with a gasp of fear.
The sound of children crying momentarily stunned him as he thought
that maybe this, too, was a dream. It was the blast of heat that convinced
him he was really awake; in his nightmare, he had been freezing cold. He
struggled to a sit, his heart racing, and the horrible dream faded.
It was barely dawn and his foggy
brain took a moment to remember where he was.
"Come on, partner," his
roommate said. "Daylight's burnin'!" Weitz chuckled as he wiped
his face with a towel. "I've always wanted to say that. I'll go grab
us some food and meet you in the infirmary."
Sam blinked, confused.
Weitz chuckled again. "Yeah, the
place you couldn't pull yourself away from yesterday." He looked out
the window frame. "The line's started already. I tell you, these
people don't tarry about. We have checkups this morning, and then we can
start preps for the surgery tomorrow morning. The boy should be here this
Sam struggled to sit on the edge of
the bed, momentarily tangling himself in the mosquito net. "Yeah,
sure." Finally, he freed himself and stood, still a little shaky even
though the nightmare had faded from his mind. "I'll . . . I'll see
you over there." He rubbed his eyes, looked out the window and was
amazed at the line he saw. Sam began to get ready for the day.
Al the Observer popped in just as Sam
finished cleaning up. "Good morning, George of the Jungle." He
greeted, unwrapping a cigar. The hologram was dressing in safari khakis
and hiking boots.
The scientist eyed him and fought to
control a laugh. "Are you on a safari or something?"
Al snorted. "Safaris are in
Africa. This is South America. The dress is still appropriate,
Sam shook his head in amusement.
"Did you find anything more on Denton?"
"Nope. Nada. Nothin' but a cold
"Have you talked to him in the
Al glanced at his watch. "I was
just about to do that. He's awake now, and Beeks says he seems more
coherent. I'll get what I can, but I don't really see what that has to do
with critters snatching him in the dark."
"Al, you should know about
covering all the bases by now. And besides, I have this gut feeling . .
"I don't know. Denton. This
place. Something just doesn't seem right. I just have this bad
feeling." Sam frowned as he spoke, and put his hand over his abdomen.
Al snorted. "As long as it's not
Yellow Fever or Montezuma's revenge. I'll check back later." And with
a flourish of his cigar laden wrist, the hologram stepped from the jungle
to the Project.
Project Quantum Leap
Stallion's Gate, New Mexico
Admiral Calavicci slipped the unlit
cigar into his pocket before he stepped from the Imaging Room and walked
down the ramp, a spring in his step.
"I'm on my way to the Waiting
Room. Would you let Beeks know I'm coming?" He handed the link to St.
John, who continued to fiddle with the controls. He patiently stared at
the programmer until he had the man's full attention.
St. John did a double take from his
console to the Admiral's face before meeting his eyes. He flushed
slightly. "Um, you were talking to me?" The British tone was
slightly flustered. He took the offered link and waited for the Admiral to
Al let go. "Yes. The last time I
asked Ziggy to do it she snarled at me and now I'm on her black list. I
think she's PMSing."
The programmer smiled nervously and
dropped his head with a laugh. "I don't think that's possible,
Admiral, but I know what you mean."
Al took a step back from the console
when the weird feeling he always felt around St. John once again tingled
his unconscious. Tina had told him that St. John had a crush on him; that
whole idea gave Al the willies so he gave the Control console a wide berth
as the walked away. "Thanks," he said over his shoulder as he
left. Still, he had to admit the man was a wiz with Ziggy.
Al moved down the hall with a bracing
sigh. His thoughts turned introspective as he compared the supposed
admiration St. John had for him to the admiration a woman would have for
him. A blonde, perhaps. A blonde with legs up to there, and 6-inch
stiletto heels and curves like a mountain road . . . Al grinned at the
invading image then reached up and slapped his own cheek. "OK, Mr.
Project Administrator. Let's keep our thoughts in check, shall we?"
he said quietly.
With another bracing sigh to clear
his head of the lovely distraction he marveled at his capacity to accept
St. John for what he was without anger or revulsion. He was simply the way
he was, just like anyone else. Al chuckled, knowing Beth would approve of
his maturity; he hadn't always been like that. Then Al began to think of
ways she could show her approval . . . perhaps in that red teddy he got
her for Christmas . . .
Al had to slap himself again to get
his mind focused on the task ahead.
He met Beeks in the observation area
next to the Waiting Room. "I think he's ready to talk now, Admiral.
He seems to be pretty pulled together and remembering quite a lot. Says he
had a good night's sleep." Beeks tapped her pen absently on her palm,
and gazed through the one-way glass into the Waiting Room. "I get the
feeling he hasn't slept well for a while, but he won't elaborate on why.
Maybe you can find out some more. I don't think he's too comfortable with
A chuckle escaped Al's lips.
"Another male chauvinist, I take it?"
"Guess we'll find out, won't
we?" Beeks picked up a notepad and followed the Admiral into the
When they left hours later, shaken,
they both wondered how the Visitor had slept at all in the past 40 years.
Sam's morning was very busy and
distracted him from his weariness, his sleep during the previous night
both unrestful and therefore unrefreshing. Before he knew it, lunchtime
rolled around and his stomach let him know it was time for a break. It
growled so loudly, the little boy he was examining giggled. Sam grinned in
return and sent the boy on his way with a pat on the head.
"I need some food," Sam
said out loud as he stretched a kink from his shoulders. And some real
rest, he thought to himself.
"I'll get someone to bring you a
sandwich," Nurse Emily said as she tugged a little girl's dress into
place. An even littler girl clung to the patient's leg, her eyes wide with
Sam laughed. "No, that's all
right. Looks like your hands are full. I'll get something myself."
Nurse Emily nodded with her trademark laugh and turned her attention on
the pair of girls.
"I'll join you." Mel Weitz
slipped off his gloves with a snap and shoo'd away his patient. "I
need to get off my feet for a bit."
The activity around the buildings had
lessened as the heat of midday reached its peak. At Sam's suggestion, the
two men walked slowly toward their quarters to change into fresh shirts
before going to the kitchen.
"Besides, I need more mosquito
repellant," Sam said.
Weitz laughed. "I'm sure glad
the little critters like you more than me!"
Their chatter ended abruptly when
they stepped into their cabin and Sam saw an old man in khaki glaring at
him from the furthest corner.
Sam frowned. "Who . . ?"
There was a sound of motion behind
him just before a flash of pain and stars erupted in his head. He was
unconscious before he hit the floor.
The world was whirling confusion as
Sam slowly regained his senses. Hammering pain echoed in his head as he
thought about opening his eyes open to figure out where he was. The motion
of lifting his chin made him groan and his head lolled to the side. He
squeezed his eyes more tightly shut.
Sam heard the voice but the name
didn't register. Nothing made sense at this moment.
"Curt! Are you all right? Look
at me, Curt!"
The leaper turned to face the voice
with the intention to tell the speaker to shut up - the noise hurt his
head. He forced his eyelids apart and saw a fuzzy outline next to him.
"That's right, Curt. Open your
eyes. I think you may have a concussion. I don't think they hit me as
"Hit?" Sam mumbled,
squinting at the painfully bright light.
"Yeah. You've been out for
"Yeah, as in knocked out. Who
are these guys, Curt? Come on, wake up! We have to get a plan
Sam struggled to make sense of his
surroundings through the blazing pain in his head. He managed to lift his
chin and force his eyes to focus. It took him a moment longer to realize
that his hands were bound behind his back and he was sitting in a chair.
As his senses came into focus, he looked around and saw that he was in a
dilapidated shack with a dirt floor. And 'shack' was a generous
"You with me now?"
The leaper turned toward the voice
and saw a man - Mel Weitz, he realized - similarly tied in a chair next to
him. "Yeah," Sam groaned. "I wish I wasn't."
"Me too. That guy's gonna be
back in a few minutes. He seems particularly interested in you. He doesn't
give me the time of day."
"Oh." What was going on?
Where was Al? Just as the world seemed to be making sense again, an old
man dressed in khaki stepped in the hut, leaning on a walking cane. A
flash of memory came to Sam. "You were in our cabin," he said
"You can stop the games now,
Steffan. You and I both know why you're here." The man moved close
enough to his captive to lift the scientist's chin with his finger until
Sam was looking into his eyes.
Sam saw a faded scar running from
cheek to chin, counter to the aged wrinkles on the man's face. His eyes
were dark and sparked with anger, and his thin, silver hair neatly combed
straight back. He emanated authority - a command presence that made Sam
unconsciously sit up straighter.
"So tell me why I'm here,"
Sam said quietly, his heart pounding. This man caused tendrils of fear to
crawl from Sam's stomach.
The old man smiled; it didn't sit
well on his face. "I still find it hard to believe that you sneaked
off like one of them." He indicated Weitz with a condescending flip
of his wrist. That's when Sam noticed the accent. The man's next words
were in German, and Sam understood them clearly. "But here you are,
not only acting like them, but consorting with them. I am appalled and
Sam realized that the man was
speaking German and that he understood every word. My brain must be
magnafluxed with the real Heiler; I know what he's saying.
Out of the corner of his eye, Sam saw
Mel Weitz stiffen. "You don't know him, Curt, do you?"
Apparently, Weitz spoke German, too. Weitz's eyes were wide with fear when
Sam turned to reply, but the man spoke, again in German, before Sam had
"Of course he knows me. We were
close at one time. We came here together, lived and worked together in
this cursed place. Worked to survive. Worked to keep our dream
alive." The man's eyes never left Sam as he spoke, and they burned
even brighter with anger. "You remember our dream, Steffan? The one
we fled Germany with? The one we swore to keep alive? The dreams of the
When Weitz looked at Sam the leaper
clearly saw a mix of fear, disgust and complete sadness registered in his
eyes. "Is he saying you were a Nazi, Curt? A Nazi?" The
man's voice choked. "I've trusted you all these years! I've admired
you! And you've lied to me!"
"No, I . . . I didn't lie, Mel.
I didn't . . ."
"You didn't what? Butcher my
family? Murder my people? Have you ever noticed the marks on my arm, Curt?
The tattoo? When I was a boy, the Nazis tattooed my arm like branding
cattle." The mix of emotion had now given way to hatred, pure and
sharp. "And you were part of that, Curt. I bet that's not even your
real name, is it? He called you Steffan! When you slithered into America
you changed it like a coward. You didn't want to be held responsible. So
how does it feel to be in hiding, Curt - or what ever you name is? Like I
was for so long before my family was dragged off to the camps? How does it
The man in khaki laughed at Weitz's
reaction. "So, your friend had no idea of your true self, huh,
The familiar clunk-shoom of the
Imaging Chamber door was a welcome noise, and Sam, wide-eyed, searched
desperately for his friend.
"It's not true, Mel. I can't be
a . . ."
"Nazi?" Al finished for him
solemnly as the door closed behind him. "Yes, I'm afraid it is true,
Sam. Or was, at least."
Sam dropped his head, unable to meet
the eyes of either Al or Mel. His eyes burned with unshed tears and
overwhelming weariness. The Observer continued on in a level, calm voice.
"The Visitor's real name is
Steffan Konrad Heiler. He worked under Josef Mengele in Auschwitz and
Sigmund Rascher in Dachau. Heiler was very young at the time, just
finishing his medical training. He didn't really have any hands on dealing
with the experiments, but he was fully aware of what was going on. It
sickened him, but he was afraid of what would happen to him and his family
if he voiced his disapproval. He had to support his mother, a young wife
and five siblings. Dissidents were immediately executed, Sam, and any
criticism would have endangered his family as well has him. He says he
helped the prisoners when he could by giving them extra food and blankets;
but still, he was a Nazi."
The wrinkled man continued to chuckle
as he leaned on his cane and studied the leaper. Sam's stomach flipped
like a landed fish and he fought nausea. He hoped it may be from the blow
to the head, but knew it wasn't as Al continued.
"Heiler and what was left of his
family left Germany after the war an came to Venezuela. A lot of Nazis
did. He and two other families pooled their wealth - some of it taken from
the camp inmates - and moved here. They kept the valuables together in a
trunk, and hid it around here somewhere. Only three people knew the exact
location of the trunk: You, I mean Curt, another officer who died shortly
after coming here, and a third man who was killed in 1955. That's when
Curt disappeared from Venezuela, alone. His wife had died, along with his
remaining siblings. No one knew where he went."
"America," Sam whispered.
"Yup. He sneaked across the
border, got an identity, and began a life of atonement. He also felt that
someone killed the third man to find the location of the trunk. He didn't
stick around here to figure out who it was. He also says he didn't take
the contents of the trunk with him. It's still here."
Sam's head rose slowly as the words
sank in. His eyes, watery with emotion, caught Al's. The hologram spoke
again. "Curt Denton is haunted by what he saw, Sam. He is sickened,
horrified and regretful for his part in it. He decided to dedicate his
life to helping and healing others. We've checked it all out, Sam, and
it's true. He says his work made him feel better, but he still has
nightmares and the guilt won't go away." Al took a breath.
"Anyway, he re married in the states, and after his second wife died
last year he decided to try one last thing to stop the nightmares. Dr.
Weitz and Doctors Without Borders gave him the opportunity."
"He came here to get the
trunk." Sam suddenly understood why Curt Denton came to Venezuela,
and also understood the chance he had taken returning here.
Weitz glared at him as he spoke, and
growled, "You know why we're prisoners here, don't you? You're still
a Nazi, like him!"
Sam acknowledged Weitz with a
desperate glance and turned back to Al, who nodded at Sam. "Yup. For
forty years Curt - Steffan - has tried to think of a way to make up for
what he'd done. All his community service he did in that time didn't help
to get rid of the nightmares. He figures this is his last chance. He
thinks that if he can return the valuables somehow, it will help."
Al's fingers flew over the handlink. "According to our Visitor, this
guy is probably Emrich Fleischer. He and Curt - uh, Steffan - fled Germany
Footsteps scraped on the dirt floor
and Sam felt the closeness of his captor. He looked up into the withered,
wrinkled face as the man spoke. "You will take me to the trunk or
your companion here dies. No great loss to me, but I think that it may
mean something to you." Fleischer pulled a black handgun from his
pocket and placed the muzzle against Weitz's temple. "My only
souvenir from the Homeland. And it is in fine working order."
"I don't speak German, but I get
that! Don't you dare!" Al yelled as he moved in between Weitz and
Fleischer, waving his arms. "I swear, if you hurt them I'll hunt you
"No, I'll take you, I will. Let
him go," Sam pleaded, falling into the language of his captor. The
man hesitated, and then slipped the gun back into his pocket. Then he
turned and slapped Sam hard on the cheek, causing the stars and pain to
resurge in force. Sam groaned.
"You nozzle! He's all tied
up!" Al yelled. "So when do you start beating the women and
children, too?! Or should I say again?"
"I think not. We leave
immediately." With a nod to someone behind the chairs, Fleischer
stepped back and allowed the captives to be yanked to their feet.
For a man in his 60's Emrich
Fleischer was in good physical condition in spite of the walking cane. His
lackeys, two young Hispanic toughs, were in excellent shape. Sam stumbled
along trying to keep an eye on Weitz, who seemed to be fighting off his
innate fear with anger. The problem was that he was directing his anger at
everyone, Sam included. And Sam knew that Weitz would have to cooperate
with him, if not trust him, to get out of this alive.
Al hovered protectively by his
friend's side, and linked the handlink directly with Beeks. The real
Heiler would have to direct them; and he would have to trust the
psychiatrist to tell his story.
It takes time to build trust, and Sam
knew they didn't have a lot of that commodity right now. He also prayed
that the area hadn't changed so much that Denton's directions would be
"Obviously, you've changed
history, Sam. Ziggy says Denton was probably snatched later in the day in
the original history. Since
they never found a body, she can't say what really happened. Anyway, you
are going to have to start in the area Denton lived when he was here for
the directions to make any sense."
The goons pushed Sam and Weitz along
a barely visible trail through a particularly thick section of jungle. It
was difficult to keep his feet with tied hands. "He needs to help me,
Al. Make him understand."
"Shut up and move, Heiler."
A vicious shove from behind almost sent Sam to his knees.
"We're trying, Sam." The
Observer's fingers flew over the keys. "Beeks says he's trying to
remember. It's like regression therapy - part of him doesn't want to go
"I know how he feels," Sam
grumbled. Another shove did send him to the ground, and someone fell over
Sam found himself face to face with
Weitz. He saw the fear in the doctor's eyes just before he met Sam's eyes.
In an instant, hate replaced fear.
"We have to work together to
survive this," Sam said quickly. All he got in return was a glare as
Weitz struggled to his feet. Sam could see that the man was physically
suffering. He wouldn't last long.
"Sam, Heiler - er, Denton - says
that you have to head south on the main road of the town. He's still
hedging on the exact location. He doesn't want this nozzle to have
it." Al indicated the German with a nod of his head.
Panting, Sam asked, "He knows
about me, right? About the project and why I'm here?"
"Yes, he does. He gets it, and
is starting to realize this is a chance to stop the nightmares. He also
knows this guy," Al jabbed his cigar in the direction of Fleischer,
"and knows how determined he can be."
The little troupe spilled out onto a
rutted road that was obviously well used. Sam lifted his head and saw the
edge of the town he had passed through enroute to the medical camp.
"Which way?" Barked the
"South," Sam gasped.
Weitz uttered a phrase Sam didn't
"Good thing you don't speak
Yiddish, Sam." Al commented darkly. "Denton - uh, Heiler - says
to keep going south."
When the dirt road smoothed out and
pedestrians became more prevalent, one of the goons grabbed Sam's elbow
and moved in close so it appeared that he was assisting the older man to
The other did the same to Weitz, who
struggled a moment. "How can you do this to your people?" he
asked the young tough in his native language. He jerked as the younger man
jabbed something into his side in response.
"Shut up or you're dead,"
the young man growled in accented English.
"Stop it, I'm helping you,"
Sam said through his teeth.
"Denton says start where he used
to live." Al looked at Sam. "Which would be…??"
"My old house," Sam said
quickly. "Take me to my old house."
The young men propelled the two old
men along the road with the German behind, verbally directing the goons.
He spoke as they walked. "I'm the only one left from the original
group. The families either died or moved away, but I stayed. I knew the
trunk was here, and I knew you were alive somewhere. I've been so
patient." With a wave of the walking stick, the group was directed
along a narrow side road. "I've waited so long. I deserve this."
"What about those you stole it
from?" Weitz spat. Apparently, his German was still very good.
"Spoils of war go to the
stronger and smarter." Fleischer snarled. "It's the way of
history." He turned his back on Weitz to indicate the conversation
was over. He spat a few words to his muscle power. Sam and Mel were
propelled through a tangle of dirt footpaths until they came upon a small
building at the edge of the forest that sagged with neglect. Still, there
were indications of someone living there.
"There is your old home, Steffan.
As you can see, the natives are not too keen on upkeep."
"That's because they are
fighting to survive." The knife in Mel's side didn't dampen his anger
in the slightest. Sam had to admire his pluck.
"As are most inferior
"Do you believe this guy, Sam?
He sounds like a page out of ancient history!"
Their captor's eyes were glazed in
excitement. "But we will rise again. It's happening as we speak. Now
show me where the trunk is."
Sam gaped at the man, then glanced at
his Observer. Al was typing madly on the link and mumbling to himself.
"I hope this nozzle lives long enough to see the Berlin Wall fall.
His brotherhood is headed nowhere." His fingers paused on the keys.
"Curt says the trunk is under the floor of the house, Sam."
"The house," Sam said.
"It's in the house. Under the floor."
The muscle men pushed them towards
the house at their captor's command, but halfway there, Weitz fell to his
knees. "I will not be a part of this. I'm willing to give my life
resisting you, just as my family did. He will not use me as a pawn."
"Fine with me!" Fleischer
barked in German, the directed the young man in his own language. "Do
Sam, held fast by his escort, tried
to break free. "NO!" He yelled. He watched the young man move
behind Weitz and move the knife to a position to cut his throat.
"Sam! He's gonna slit his
Sam moved on instinct. He dropped,
throwing his escort off balance, then dove toward Weitz with enough power
to break his captor's grip and knock the German to the ground. He slammed
into the executioner and they both rolled aside.
Mel struggled to his feet as Sam
leaped to him in a way completely beyond the physical capabilities
suggested by the aura of Curt. With his hands still bound behind him, Sam
executed a front kick, followed quickly by a side kick that both disarmed
and knocked Mel's escort senseless as he struggled to his feet. Sam
disabled him with a jaw-breaking kick to the face. The second young tough
jumped in and Sam took a defensive stance and bounced on the balls of his
feet as he circled the wary attacker.
"Run, Mel! Into the
"Sam! Look out! He's getting the
gun!" Al waved his arms wildly.
As Mel stumbled away, the German
fumbled for his dropped pistol. The knife wielding young man was between
Sam and the German; Sam feigned a kick that backed his opponent closer to
Fleischer. Just as the pistol was leveled for a shot, Sam launched himself
feet first into the young tough's chest.
The attacker slammed backward into
the German just as a shot was fired, and they both rolled aside in a
tangled heap. Sam fell hard to the ground but scrambled to his feet and
took the opportunity to tear after Mel.
"He missed him, Sam! The shot
Mel had disappeared around the old
house and into the jungle with Sam right behind him. The old man was
wheezing as he ran and the scientist knew he'd have to rest.
"The nozzle and his remaining
henchman are real close, Sam! Don't make so much noise!" Al reported
as he kept vigil for the leaper.
"Easy for you to say, Al. I've
got to get Mel to stop. He's going to pass out."
Sam caught up with his friend and
bumped him aside.
"Keep away from me!" Mel
gasped as he fell.
"We have to work together, Mel!
And keep quiet! They aren't far away!"
Dr. Weitz struggled to a sit, gasping
for breath. "You are a fraud!"
Sam ignored him as he wriggled his
arms under his feet, and brought his hands up in front of him. His hands
were still tied, but at least they were in front of him now. "Let me
"No!" Sam continued to
ignore him as he guided the man's arms under his feet and brought his
hands in front of him. Sam began to work on the knot to free Mel's hands.
Mel tried to catch his breath and his struggling against Sam ceased.
"How could you, Curt?" He said angrily between breaths.
"How am I supposed to feel? You've lied to me all these years!"
Sam continued to work the knot.
"I can't begin to imagine how you feel, Mel. I know I can't begin to
make up to you what happened. I can't change any of that. I didn't do
anything because I was trapped, too. You have to believe me when I say I
wasn't a willing participant. I was surviving."
"At the cost of my family and my
"Yes." Sam said after a
moment. "Sadly, yes. I've been trying to atone for my part in all
that ever since. The only thing I can change is me, and that's what I've
been trying to do these past years."
Sam's tone had changed subtly as he
talked. Al noticed it, and closely monitored the handlink.
"Sam," he said softly. "You're magnafluxed with Curt. Can
you hear me?"
The knot was finally worked free, but
Sam continued to talk, oblivious to the Observer. There was a look in his
eye that Al noted was the same look Curt had when he confessed his past to
him and Dr. Beeks in the Waiting Room. Sam was not here at the moment and
Al knew it.
"I've tried every way I could
think of to fix what I did. I've suffered, too. I know it's not even close
to what you have been through, Mel, and I know that. No matter how much
community service I gave, no matter how many people I helped, the
nightmares would not go away." His voice was thick with emotion, and
the tortured soul of the man's aura was very clear in his eyes and tone.
His shoulders seemed to sag with the weight of what he'd done. "And
I'm sure your nightmares are worse."
Al saw Mel's eyes shine and jaw flex
with controlled emotion.
"I'm begging for your help, Mel.
I'm sure my soul is condemned, but I want my last physical days to count
for something good. I know you can never forgive me or forget the past. I
know I can't. I'm asking you to help me do something in atonement. I want
to put myself in your hands to do what you wish. It's all I have left to
"Sam!" Al barked. "You
have to keep moving, you hear me? Those two are close!"
Sam didn't appear to hear him.
Instead, he knelt in front of Dr. Weitz with his head bowed and his cheeks
wet with tears. Weitz was struggling for emotional control. His voice was
husky and low when he finally spoke.
"I don't have the right to
punish you. Only God has that right. I just don't want to lay my eyes on
"As you wish." Sam got to
his feet and began to walk away, his hands still bound in front of him.
"They only want me. Here's you chance to get away. Goodbye, Mel. I
will always consider you my dear friend."
"Sam! What are you doing? You're
heading right for them!"
Unhearing, the essence of Carl Denton
walked into the hands of his hunters. Mel Weitz could only watch with
hooded eyes and conflicted feelings.
Sam was vaguely aware of his own
thoughts but was driven by those of his host. His heart pounded and his
breath came in gasps as he worked his way through the forest growth. Trees
thick with winding vines created a rustling noise he didn't bother to
mute. The heavy humidity made the air as thick as the brush. Sam felt like
his lungs were inhaling water; he sweated profusely.
He didn't hear the Observer pleading
with him to slow down before he - or the Visitor - had a heart attack.
With spinning head and narrowing
vision Sam was barely aware of the painful grip that brought him to his
"Found you, old man," the
youth's voice said in Spanish.
The burly young man half dragged,
half carried Sam back to the wooden structure and through the doorway. The
door had long vanished, replaced by a hanging curtain, and what was left
of the wooden floor was warped and loose.
The old German was sitting on a
rickety wooden trunk. Hammocks draped across the back wall indicated the
sleeping area and a rickety table and various wooden bowls designated the
kitchen. Fleischer held a small, wide-eyed boy in his lap. A weeping woman
was just outside, visible through an opening that had been a window.
"I needed a new hostage. Boy, go
find the Jew. I don't think my friend here is going anywhere.
The tough released Sam and returned
to the jungle. The leaper blinked to clear his head. After a moment, he
turned and looked at his Observer with a puzzled expression.
"Sam? You finally hear me? Thank
God, Sam, you gotta listen. Listen, Sam! You've psychosynergized with the
real Curt to the point where he's not responding to Beeks at all. You have
to separate your thoughts, Sam. Curt can't help you."
"Under the floor," Sam
mumbled. "The trunk is under the floor."
The German's eyes turned stormy.
"Show me." The boy squirmed under his grip.
"Sam, come on. Show him,
Slowly, Sam turned in a circle and
noticed a section of wood floor that was in the shape of a square. He
moved over to it, head spinning, and squatted down. With his hands still
tied together in front of him, he flipped the section of board over.
Underneath was a hole in the dirt. In
the hole were the remains of a well-used fire pit.
"Oh, Jeeze, Sam, it's
gone." Al's fingers flew over the link.
Sam stared in the hole, dazed. The
German growled, and the scientist saw his captor's arm raised as he reset
the muzzle of the handgun on the boy's temple. Sam turned to him.
"I see your hiding place has
been turned into an oven. You have 60 seconds to find out where the
"Sam, we got nothin'." Al
shook the link in a frustrated manner. Curt is in some sort of vegetative
Sam stared at the German, but his
thoughts raced wildly with visions of things that did not belong to his
own history. The central focus of the pictures in his mind was a carved
wooden trunk with a brass lock. Slowly, his eyes fell to the trunk on
which the German sat.
It was the same trunk. Worn, dirty
and stripped of all the brass, but the same trunk. Fleischer frowned, and
then dropped his eyes to his seat. Sam pointed to the trunk.
The next few seconds were a blur to
both Sam and his Observer. There was a scream, then yelling, and then the
German flew to the ground. The boy screamed and crawled away from his
captor, unharmed. The gun clattered to the floor and grabbed it.
Unthinking, Sam then took the boy by
his arm and ran outside right into the arms of the child's mother and a
group of what Sam assumed were villagers. Several older men restrained the
young tough, now rather bruised and subdued in his attitude. One in the
crowd held a bow with a quiver of short arrows slung over his shoulder.
Mel Weitz, dirty and breathing heavily, stood at the back of the group.
"That was some shootin', Sam! He
got him through the window! It was amazing!" Al nodded at the young
man. "It looks like someone notified his parents. And brothers. And
every other relative in town."
A grey, wrinkled man began to cut
away Sam's bonds with a very sharp knife, worn with age. A pair of
younger, stronger men entered the house.
"We have had enough," the
old man said quietly in Spanish. "He will be punished by the
elders." With a slight nod, the young tough was escorted away.
"I think they plan more than
grounding him for the weekend," Al commented. "You okay,
Sam nodded slightly to his Observer,
and his eyes drifted over his friend's shoulder and met Mel's. "Thank
you," he whispered. He didn't wait or expect a response, and instead,
his eyes were drawn to the edge of the jungle behind the Jewish doctor.
There was something there. He felt
His face took on a dazed look that
made the hologram edgy. "What?" He, too, turned to follow his
The pair of men that had entered the
house approached the village elder with respectfully bowed heads.
"He's dead," one of them reported softly.
The elder issued quiet orders, and
the group slowly broke up. Sam seemed unaware of any of it; when it was
just he and Mel left standing, the leaper walked to the trees without
"Sam! Where're you going? You
should be leaping." Al's fingers flew over the link. "Ziggy?
What's going on?"
Sam moved to the very edge of the
trees. Mel had followed him, his forehead furrowed in confusion.
When he reached the trees, he
stopped. His eyes were locked on a particular and peculiar group of
greenery. The thick vines that grew everywhere were, in one spot, braided
into a single, thick vine. Still in a daze, Sam walked to the aberration
and placed his hand on the trunk. With age and time the individual vines,
which had been purposely intertwined in a regular pattern in their youth,
were now one, solid entity.
"Hey, I've seen that done with
acacia trees," Al commented, studying the vines. "We have one in
"It's inside," Sam said
"What?" Mel and Al said in
unison, totally confused.
"The treasure." Sam walked
around the vines, his voice soft but firm. The width of the trunk was an
impressive size. "It's inside. I put it in the middle."
Mel and the hologram gaped at the
Sam spoke in a dreamy voice. The
words were coming directly from the Visitor. "It took so long. The
nightmares made sleep impossible. I would come out here in the darkness
and work on it - placing the vines and training them. It took months to
form them." He looked at his hands. "My hands were raw. I didn't
sleep much. It helped, but the nightmares didn't go away. I knew the trunk
was not safe. I knew the treasure inside was not mine. I had to hide
"So you made your own
vault," Al said softly.
"I made a tomb," Sam
corrected. "I didn't want to forget what I saw, but I didn't want to
remember either. This helped. And it made the treasure safe."
Emotions rolled over Mel's face in
waves. Anger gave way to sadness, then surprise and finally, exhaustion.
"Curt. I . . . I don't know what
to say. This is nothing less than remarkable." He hesitated for a
moment then placed his hand on his old friend's shoulder. "I don't
know how to feel. I need some time."
Sam turned to the doctor and smiled a
tired smile. "That's all I have to give, my friend."
Al's attention was moved to the
squealing link. "Sam! You won't believe this! These two take the
valuables and move it to the Caymen Islands. With the offshore account,
they build a modern medical unit here! This area becomes an important
center for health for the poor! You did it, buddy! Curt stays here and
becomes the resident doctor. Mel visits often, and they both decide how to
use the money."
The leaper turned to his hologram and smiled as he felt the familiar tingling sensation in his limbs. His last thought before leaping was the hope that Curt Denton's nightmares would finally end.
The leap took a hold of Sam so hastily that it took his breath away. Even as the tingling sensation spread up his legs, through his body, and out through his fingertips, something about the leap didn’t seem quite right. The sudden rush of it made him lightheaded. When the motions of the leap came to a sudden screeching halt, it didn’t stop the dizziness that assaulted him.
Something pressed against his chest – not pressed, squeezed, he felt. ‘What in the heck is going on? Am I in a vise?’ Sam thought for a split second as he felt his body constrict from the pressure. His eyes squeezed shut as he cried out in pain as pain swept through his body. His senses, nearly overloaded by physical sensations, were vaguely aware of the laughing, and hooting behind him, or of the foul mouthed language that was shouted in his ear… not to mention the foul stench of the breath that carried the words.
Something was obscenely not right. Not only was the big man pressuring his lungs, but also there was a sensation on his pelvis that caused Sam’s stomach to lurch with an overwhelming sense of nausea. The motions from behind him weren’t ones that should be happening – period. And, unfortunately, the words the man yelled into his ear proved that it wasn’t a dream.
It was most definitely a nightmare.
“I'm gonna make you pay, you little shit!" The unrelenting motions behind him came to a sudden stop when the man behind him sighed with satisfaction. Sam felt used and besmirched from the act that he had leaped into. He squeezed his eyes closed to shut out the reality of what had occurred.
He felt the man move away from him. Sam didn't dare open his eyes in fear of what might come next. For a brief moment he thought he had a reprieve, but he was proven wrong. He was pushed hard and his head cracked against a hard, rough surface. He was pulled back from the wall thrust forward at it twice more; his head bounced off the wall like a ball on a ping-pong paddle. Warm blood poured down his face and into his eye, blurring what little vision he had. He grunted in pain as he felt himself being pulled back from the wall yet again.
He felt hot breath on his ear. “Let this be a warning to you. Next time you interfere with something that’s none of your fuckin’ business, you won’t be so damn lucky.” The sadistic laughter that followed contained no merriment. Sam felt the man’s breath retreat to his neck and he shied away from the silkily spoken words that were accented by a rough hand that patted Sam’s bare bottom. “Next time, we won’t have an audience watching. Next time, it’ll be just you and me… sugar.”
The bulky man let go of Sam and stepped back to watch as his victim slid down into a heap on the ground with his pants still around his ankles. In a quick motion he adjusted his own pants, zipped them up then regarded Sam once more. One step brought him next to the Quantum Physicist where he reared back and began to kick Sam in the gut until his target coughed and cried out in absolute pain. With a smug smirk he gathered a mouthful of saliva then spat at Sam, enjoying the way it made it way down Sam’s cheek. Feeling justified, the man turned on his heel and walked away, taking the crowd with him.
Sam didn't move. His head throbbed with pain. His abdomen felt as if a hole had been punctured all the way through his spinal column. His body screamed out in ways that he had never felt before. For a single solitary moment all he could do was blink his eyes and stare off into the distance and try to catch his breath. Shock settled in and took hold as he slowly sat up and pulled his legs toward him. Sam began to rock himself back and forth as he suddenly felt alone - miserably and hopelessly alone.
A soft murmur found its way to his lips and repeated over and over; two words that he always used at the beginning of a leap and which were the only ones that came to him at the moment: “Oh boy… oh boy… oh boy…”
Back to Top