Friday, December 17, 2010

Door 17

Jack spent Friday at school. There, but not there. Going through the motions with his body while his mind whirled away.

The Doorway was gone. And as much as he worried over it, he still had no idea how to get it back.


It was clear that his Dad and Janet had no idea about the Doorway. They hadn't taken it away from him - they had forgotten about it completely.

Really, there was only one place it could be. Elementary, Jack thought, and then didn't finish, because it just wasn't very funny.

Damien had it.

Damien had the Doorway. He had Jack's Doorway and he had his own Doorway. Jack wasn't even sure how it worked. Was Damien sitting now with two Doorways in his room? Did one disappear when the other one arrived?

What did it matter? Jack had no way of getting into the future without the Doorway. He was useless here.

Jack was afraid Clarice had picked the wrong guy for the job.


Jack woke up, for the second time this month, with the feeling that someone was staring at him. He rolled onto his back, propped his elbows up and looked down at the end of his bed.

Clarice sat quietly, looking out Jack's window at the starry night.

"Hi, Clarice," Jack said.

"Hi, Jack. Sorry to wake you up in the middle of the night. I had to get out while Damien was asleep."

Jack was confused. "I thought you were too old to travel."

"I lied," Clarice said. "I'm sorry."

"Jeb told me you didn't get too old to travel. I wasn't sure if he was right. Or if you were."

"It was in your notes. Anybody can use the Doorway to travel, at any age."

"So why did you lie to me?" Jack asked.

"I didn't want you to worry."

They were both quiet for some time. Both thinking their own thoughts, but maybe thinking of the same thing.

"You're sick, aren't you?" Jack asked.

Clarice just nodded.

"From going to the past," Jack said. It was a statement, not a question. "Damien sent you to the past too often and got you sick."

Clarice turned away and cupped her face into her hands. She started sobbing quietly, small moans of pain coming from deep inside her chest.

Jack moved down the bed and put his arm around her, pulling her against him.

"Why did you come back here?" Jack whispered. "You shouldn't be traveling to the past any more. Jeb said it's dangerous to go back too often."

Clarice shook her head, her cheeks wet. "It doesn't matter. That's what the doctor said to me, too. He said, 'I don't know what you have, but it doesn't matter, because whatever it is, it's too late.' Then he left and went to the next patient without saying another word. Because he was busy. And it was too late anyway."

"I don't know what to do," Jack said. "I think Damien took the Doorway."

"I know. That's why I came back. We have to stop him. Before he hurts Emma and Nat like he hurt me."


"I'm going to take you back with me. We're going to do the same thing to him that he did to you."

Jack shrugged, confused. He didn't understand.

"We're going to take the Doorways from Damien," Clarice said. "And bring them back here. Where he'll never be able to reach them."

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