Finally he arrived at his destination. The building looked new; the iron gate’s protective black paint still shone in the sunlight without a crack or a dull patch to be seen. He pictured the photos he’d seen in his online research; the front of the building had been intact. It was the rear that had collapsed. He needed an interior room, preferably no windows. Didn’t have to be large. A closet would be just about perfect, if he could access one.
“Well, Skeeve, don’t you seem a little out of place. What’s a nice guy like you doin’ in a time like this?” The mellow female voice startled him even before the words hit home.
“What?” He whirled, almost hitting the pretty young woman standing behind him with the bag on his shoulder. She stood staring at him expectantly, her body radiating confidence and a hint of challenge.
“Relax, you don’t have to go to all the trouble of lying. I already know when you’re from.” The corner of her mouth quirked as she said it.
“No, don’t deny it. I followed you here.”
He frowned, eyes narrowing. “That’s impossible.”
“Are there a lot of people in 1930 who call you Skeeve? Check out the phone.” His eyes widened as she reached under her coat, looking around for witnesses. “Hey, I’m not new, man. I know better.” She didn’t pull the device out completely, just enough to allow the glow of the display to show, casting a pale light on her hand. She slipped it back into her coat pocket.
“… Um …” His mind raced. How?
“Yeah. Figured that’d get your attention. And no, it’s no coincidence that I showed up right now.”
“Who are you? What do you want?”
“Call me Sandra. No, it’s not my name, but it’ll do. I want your talent.” Her eyes were hazel, somewhere between brown and green. They were also serious and touched with cold.
He drew back a little. He was off balance, he knew that, and he didn’t like it. “You came an awfully long way just to recruit me.”
“Cute. But true.”
“Why? And how, for that matter?”
“Why? Because you’re good enough to be here, that’s why. As for how, isn’t that obvious?”
“What’s obvious is that you’re also good enough not only to be here, but also to track me down through time. What do you need me for?”
“Well now that’s a pleasant surprise. You’re sharp enough to look deeper than the surface. I came here to show you I’m serious about this. I’m also,” she reached back into her pocket again, this time withdrawing a black and white printed photo, “serious about this.”
It was a photo from the future. A group of school girls crossed the street; the same street they stood on now. They were chattering away with one another, except for one. She crossed with the group, looked happy enough at a glance, but her face had a drawn look to it you’d have to know her to recognize. It was Silvia.