Across Time

Alyssa zipped up her bag, and glanced worriedly at her watch. Running late. Damn. She glanced at her watch again. It was going to be close. She made a dash for the door, calling over her shoulder to her husband, and blowing him a kiss. "I love you! Call me if you need me, I can be back at a moment's notice!"

She was looking forward to spending a week with her cousin Emily on Florida's west coast. She really could use a break, she realized, as she boarded the plane and took her seat. She was exhausted, mentally as well as physically. She leaned back and shut her eyes, only to be roughly jolted awake, what felt like only moments later, as the landing gear descended and the wheels hit the tarmac with a thud.

The baggage claim area was curiously empty. Apparently she had been the only passenger traveling to this particular destination. Well, it was a regional airline with multiple stops, and this area, however pretty, couldn't compete with the appeal of Disney World. She mentally shrugged, strapped her bag to her folding luggage wheelie and walked out the terminal doors.

Into the year 1987.



Things suddenly felt, I don't know, slightly off somehow.

"You're imagining things," I told myself. "Knock it off. Get your act together. You just wrote an address and phone number down wrong. That's all there is to it. You're going to use the phone, call Emily, she'll come and get you and that will be that."

I took another deep breath as the three of us entered the building's elevator. The little dog, happy as a clam, continued sniffing everything in sight. Not particularly bright, but definitely cute.

My handsome rescuer pushed the button for the third floor and the elevator began to ascend.

"You're still looking a little pale," he said, as it reached our floor. We exited the elevator and turned to the right, heading down a spacious open-air walkway overlooking the dock.

"Here we are," he said a short distance later, pausing in front of a door marked 305. He fished a set of keys out of his pocket and inserted one in the lock.

"I forgot to tell you. I don't actually live here," he said. "I'm cat-sitting for a friend who's out of town for a couple of weeks. The cat actually likes me much better than he likes my friend who keeps trying to convince me to take the little beggar off his hands. By the way, watch out for the cat. I'm pretty sure he's armed."

I giggled.

"Oh wait... You're not allergic to cats or anything, are you?" he queried me.

I shook my head. "I like cats," I replied. "Cats are good. Dogs are fine. But I'm sort of partial to cats. I used to have cats. I actually like cats rather a lot," I volunteered, rather inanely I thought.

He laughed out loud.

"Watch your step," he said, as he opened the door.

His friend's apartment was furnished in what I'd call early hotel chain. Clean and attractive, but pretty much devoid of personality.

A black and white tuxedo cat was perched on the back of a plush armchair. He growled and hissed at Muffy but gazed at me with undisguised interest as we entered.

"Here," my host said, leading me to the door of the powder room. "Take a minute, splash some cold water on your face then come sit down. I'm going to take Muffy next door, then I'll be right back to get you something cold to drink."

"My name is Walker Dansen, by the way," he said, pausing to hold out his hand.

I took his hand in both of mine, as much to keep from falling as anything. "Wa...?" I suddenly seemed to be having trouble breathing and the room was beginning to spin.

"Are you OK?" he asked with concern.

"I'm… not entirely sure," I replied shakily.

"OK. Water. Splash it. Then go sit down. I'll be right back."

I nodded obediently and closed the powder room door behind me.

I walked over to the sink, looked at myself in the mirror and audibly gasped. My knees buckled and I literally had to grab hold of the sink to keep from falling.

The reflection in the mirror was me, but it wasn't me.

My heart was pounding so hard that my hands were shaking.

I've gone totally round the bend, I thought shakily. I'm losing my mind.