Thursday, December 9, 2010

Door 9

"Comics?" Jack asked.

"Sometimes baseball cards," Clarice said. "Sometimes coins or stamps. It's always something that won't draw too much attention for a couple of six year old girls to buy. And it has to be something that they can carry easily. They can't go back and buy a grandfather clock or something."

Jack nodded. "That's smart."

Clarice scowled at him. "Don't act like Damien is some master criminal pulling off a genius plan. He's a common thief, willing to hurt his children to make money!"

Jack decided to shut up.

They were sitting in a park a few blocks away from Clarice's apartment. Well, she had called it a park, but to Jack, it looked like a parking lot without cars. There were a few benches and a few tables - that's it. No grass, no trees, no playground, no fun.

Clarice leaned over and hugged Jack quickly, then pulled back.

"I'm sorry," Clarice said. "I'm just tense. I know none of this is your fault."

Jack shrugged. "I don't know. I'm the one that wrote the notes on how to use this thing. Maybe I should have just burned it instead."

"How could you know? Some people would actually use it for good reasons. There's so many ways it could help people, but my Father doesn't think like that."

"My grandson," Jack mumbled.

Clarice smiled at him. "It must be hard to find out you're a Father, Grandfather, and Great Grandfather all at once...when you're 12 years old."

"At least I know there's one girl out there somewhere that won't tell me to get lost," Jack said, laughing.

"She must be a very smart girl," Clarice said.

"We can hope." Jack stood up and stretched. "Candy's almost gone. Let me ask you one more thing."

"Go ahead."

"Why don't you go back instead of your sisters?"

"There's something about age. Maybe puberty, or somewhere around there. It just doesn't work for me anymore."

Jack's cheeks reddened.

"Anyway, it was in your-"

"Yeah, my notes," Jack said. "Why do we only get sick when we go back? I always feel fine coming here."

"I don't know. Something about going to the past affects your body. Going to the future doesn't. I can't explain it. But it happens to everyone."

"It wasn't in my notes?"

"I don't think so," Clarice said.

"Weird," Jack said. "I wonder how we could find out."

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