Silence. A single tear rolled down her cheek. She still had the note in her hand, fumbling with it, unsure of what to do with it. She opened it again hoping she had misread it. She hadn’t.
“Are you alright?” Lore wasn’t quite sure what to do. They had never met anyone from their dreams before plus they had never been too good at comforting people.
“Are they dead?” She sniffled. “Did my Lore not make it?”
Lore squinted and considered their answer. They honestly had no idea what to do or say. The silence persisted for longer than either of them wanted it to being broken only by Lore offering the woman the ring bag to dry her eyes.
“Thanks.” She took the bag. “What the hell are these?.” She removed the rings, stuffing them angrily in her pocket and proceeded to dry her eyes with the bags. “I’m Charlotte. Your girlfriend.” She said the words with a subtle emphasis most would have picked up on. Lore did not simply shaking their head.
“That’s right, we didn’t meet till your twenty fifth. Come on. Lets get you somewhere safe.” She tapped her wrist revealing a holographic interface of sorts. The interface closed and with a flash, the two were transported far from the alley.
The concrete beneath their feet had been replaced with soft verdant grass, the overcast sky with the warming light of twin suns. Charlotte began walking, Lore in tow. She dragged them across the field without so much as a word of acknowledgement of the natural beauty that now surrounded them. They had landed in a plain but were now quickly approaching a jungle. Redwood like trees surrounded them, towering higher than the building from which they had escaped. The forest floor was close to pitch black with only the most persistent of rays making it from the sun. Together and still in silence the pair advanced, eventually reaching an unfathomably large tree. While it was as tall as its comrades, the tree before them was at least the same width as four trees combined. They advanced as one until Charlotte released Lore’s hand. She knocked on the tree’s bark and to Lore’s surprise, it sounded hollow. Charlotte uncurled her hand and pushed revealing a hidden door to the tree’s interior.
“Come on then if you’re coming. And I wouldn’t advise waiting. After dark the forest gets snacky.” She hadn’t smiled since leaving the alley but it was evident she wanted to now.
Lore followed, entering the heart of the tree. The room was modest in its décor. Mostly wood but accents of technology gave it a more modern look. There was a bunk bed in the corner of the room, the bottom bunk in disarray whilst the top was well made and proper. Charlotte immediately sat at the computer and proceeded to ignore Lore giving them time to rest themselves. Sitting down on the carpeted floor Lore began to look for somewhere they could get a drink. Hoping for a miracle, they searched their bag. There were four items in there but none of them were drinkable. That’s when it caught their eye. From the ancient, leatherbound book now stuck a pink tongue. Carefully removing it, Lore adjusted themselves. The note was written on a sheet of folded A4 and in a familiar script.
If you’re reading this then it worked. You made it back in time (If you’ll pardon the wordplay).
This book will hopefully prove useful in the journey ahead and I’m sorry for making that journey harder. You probably won’t remember but our life is a bit of a mess especially where tracking time is concerned. You’ve probably met Char by now. She, being the amazing woman she is, will have found my note and she is probably ignoring you now for giving her the wrong answer. ‘Her’ Lore, you from twenty years ago my end, two years in your future was sent away on an assignment, eventually they were returned to her and together they lived an exciting life which culminated in your mission. I told her that it would be safe. I lied. I went into this eyes wide open and prepared to forget everything, for her. You aren’t quite who you think you are. You’re a forty seven year old with temporal amnesia trapped in the amnesiac body of your twenty year old self. Trust me, it could be worse.
I’m just trying t. The woman you’re hopefully with right now will take care of you no matter what. I only ask you do the same. I stashed a couple infostamps in my bunk, you’ll know it when you see it, they can’t give you everything back but they should help. Keep her safe and for the god’s sake, no more time travel.
All my love to the past,
P.S I can’t remember what stage in our relationship she’s from so be careful we had a falling out when she found me with another woman’s ring.
P.P.S Char isn’t always that cold. She will warm to you. Just use the stamps, they should help and if they don’t, give it time.
Fearing the falling out had just happened, Lore stood on eggshells. They put the note in their pocket and proceeded to the beds. Climbing the ladder they turned to check on Charlotte. She didn’t seem to notice. Lore reached for what they thought was a pillow, removing a metal box. From the box they produced two black cubes with fluorescent paper tags stickered over them. In their left hand the cube was labelled context, their right labelled identity. Instinctively, Lore raised them both to their temples and all became clear. Clarity