Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Door 8

The postcard read “New York City: 1938 – The City of Wonder.”

You couldn't prove it by Jack. The front of the postcard looked like any other old city. He couldn't imagine why Clarice wanted him to use the Doorway to go back to New York City in 1938, but that’s what she said. So that’s what he was going to do.

Jack looked at his clothes one last time. Clarice had said to look “dull.” He didn’t own a lot of “dull,” but he wore as much brown as he could find and called it good enough.

Jack checked his watch, took a deep breath, and tossed the candy into his mouth.


Even in 1938, New York City was hopping. Jack moved to the edge of the sidewalk and tried to stay out of the way. He bent over slightly as a sharp pain hit the side of his gut. Jack was afraid he might throw up right there on the sidewalk of The City of Wonder. This time-travel stuff was hard on the stomach.

Jack knelt down and took shallow breaths, hoping the sudden nausea would pass. He was so preoccupied with the pain in his stomach, he nearly missed Clarice’s twin sisters walk right by in front of him.

Squinting through the pain from the cramps in his gut, Jack hobbled after them. They seemed a little wobbly on their feet as well, and if anything, looked even more pale than they had when Jack had seen them a few days before.

The girls – Jack knew now they were Emma and Nat, although he didn’t know which was which – made a beeline for a small drug store at the end of the block.

Jack followed them in and watched from a few aisles over as they each grabbed something from a squat wooden rack sitting on the floor. The two girls went up to the front counter and handed a few coins to an elderly man standing behind an equally elderly, but very shiny, cash register. The man put their purchases into a thin paper bag and gave them a slight wave as they turned and left the store.

Glancing out the window at the twins, Jack hurried over to the rack and picked up the item that the girls had purchased. It was a comic book. No, Jack thought, it was the comic book: “Action Comics #1.” It was a million dollar comic book.

And they had just paid twenty cents. For two copies.

Jack gently set the comic back into the rack and hustled out of the store. He saw the twins about a half block ahead. He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to talk to them or not – Clarice didn’t say – so he just stayed back.

One of the girls stumbled and fell. Her sister bent down and said something to her and pulled her back to her feet. It looked like they both had sweat on their faces, but it was actually quite cool out.

Jack touched his face. He was sweating as well. It must be his stomach. He felt awful.

The girls turned and walked into an alley.

Jack weaved through a crowd of people and headed down the alley after them.

The girls weren’t there. Jack spun in a circle, wondering where they could have gone. Then he noticed two half-eaten candies on the street.

They were gone.

Jack bent over and threw up, quite effectively ending his first visit to New York City.

No comments:

Post a Comment