Link to the Past
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Link to the Past

“Piper!” a voice rang through the cluttered saloon.

A young girl of about eighteen scrambled down the stairs to answer the call, her blonde hair whipping behind her like a flag. “Yes, Pa?”

The gray-haired bartender smiled at his daughter. “Piper, child, you’ve got work to do.”

Piper sighed and hesitantly picked up a bucket from behind the bar. She brushed her bangs out of her shimmery blue eyes and trudged out of the saloon where she was met with a toothless old man, having his boots shined by a homeless boy that had made the saloon porch his own.

“Hello there, Piper. Where are you off to today?” he rasped, grabbing the girl’s wrist.

“None of your business, Sparks,” she shot back, wrenching her arm out of his grasp. “I’ve got work to do, so leave me alone.”

“I’m gonna have to teach you a lesson about manners, wench,” he hissed. “Seems your Pa is too scared to keep you in line, so I will.”

“Only in your fantasies, Sparks,” Piper said, rolling her eyes. She scooped some water out of the fountain in front of the saloon and poured it in a trough for the horses to drink. She hummed softly to herself as she finished her chores, wondering exactly what it was that she was here for.

Piper Foster wasn’t your average girl. Not for 1876 anyway. She had the independent, creative, and idealistic qualities of most Y2K girls. She also had the blonde hair, blue eyes, and body that millennium girls would kill for. But to her, life was nothing but a hassle. Living in a town of about 80 people, and only 15 of them women, she knew from the beginning that she would have to struggle to hold her ideals and her pride.

Ignoring the whistles and catcalls, Piper went on with her work, oblivious to the fact that there could ever be a life better than this, but wishing for it all the same.

“I wish someone would come and take me away from all this,” she said softly, looking up at the dark clouds overhead.

Thunder crashed and she dropped the bucket and dashed inside just before it started to rain.

“I wish this would get better,” she whispered, looking out the window at the people rushing around to get out of the rain.

~*~*~*~


“Oh just great, perfect directions,” Nick scoffed as he stopped the rental car at a fork in the road. “Okay, this says turn east, but east to what?” Growing frustrated at the poor directions Kevin gave him, Nick threw the map aside. He sat at the split in the road, debating his next move. Both were dirt roads, one would lead him to Saffolk City, Arizonia, the other to god knows where.

As he turned left, rain started to pound heavily on the ground, steam rising from the hood as it hit the car. “Geesh, is there anything else ya wanna throw on me today, God?” Nick asked outloud as he looked upwards towards the sky.

A bolt of lightening flashed a half mile down the road in front of the car. “I was just kidding.”

Nick drove further down the dirt road, cursing Kevin under his breath. The storm grew more intense as he drove further into the desert. Suddenly, a blinding flash of light struck the front end of the car.

“Whoa, what the hell!?” Nick shouted, slamming on the brakes. The car skidded to a sideways stop and Nick sat, staring out the windshield, his hands gripping the steering wheel.

Besides the distant rumbling of thunder, the only other noise was the screeching of the wipers across the now dry windshield.

“Come on ....come on...oh come on, NOT HERE!” Nick wailed as he heard the battery slowly dying out at his repeated attempts to get the engine to turn over. He picked up his cell phone to call for road service. When he turned it on, it was silent, no static was to be heard, the phone was dead.

“Just great,” Nick mumbled as he tossed the useless cell onto the passenger seat. Looking around, he noticed that the rain had eased up and it appeared that there was a house off in the distance. Slipping on his black ball cap, Nick cursed the rental car, got out, locked the door and pocketed the keys. He slowly trudged down the hill towards the house in the distance.

Nick mumbled as he noticed his brand new white Nike’s were getting soiled with the red dirt he was walking in.

“I swear, Kevin is gonna buy me new shoes for his! God, I just got these and they cost $89.95! That ass.”

As he got closer to his goal, he noticed that the house was a tiny farmhouse, several red barns on the land, a fence surrounded much of the property and there were cows, horses and pigs on the land. He squinted when he thought he saw a young girl running on the property, wearing a long dress and a bonnet.

“Oh just great, I wind up near some freaken Amish community,” Nick mumbled to himself. “I’m gonna kill Kevin.”

~*~*~*~

Piper heaved the heavy basket onto her shoulder as she trudged down the dusty road to the old farmhouse where her aunt lived. She was silently cursing her father for not letting her bring a horse with every step.

“Lizzie!” she yelled as her young cousin came into view. “Lizzie, go fetch your mama for me!”

The young girl immediately stopped in her tracks and ran into the house. A moment later, an older woman emerged, walking with a cane. She carefully made her way down the steps to where Piper stood in front of the gate.

“Papa sent some dinner for you two, Auntie Ellen,” Piper explained, sliding the large basket off her shoulder and setting it on the ground. “How is your cold?”

“Better,” the woman replied, kneeling to inspect the basket. “I should have known my brother would send a bottle of whiskey too.” She smiled and picked up the basket. “And I still say you should not be living in that God-forsaken town with your father and that pack of outlaws.”

“Papa needs me,” Piper explained, smiling at her aunt’s thoughtfulness. “I can handle myself. You do not have to worry about me.”

“Won’t you stay to share this feast I’m sure you prepared more of than your father?” Ellen offered.

Piper smiled, shaking her head. “I would love to, but I still have many chores to do before sundown. I will be back soon though. Take good care of yourselves, and tell Bobby I send my best wishes, when he gets back.” She hugged her cousin and aunt and left, giving a small wave as she neared the edge of the property.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a figure heading toward her aunt’s house. Not wanting her aunt to be bothered with what might be a solicitor, she turned to intercept him.

Startled by his appearance, she narrowed her eyes at him.

“Hello, can I help you with something?” she asked, brushing the dust off her long skirt.

Nick sighed with relief. Finally, human contact. “Yeah. I’m sorry to bother you, but my car broke down and I need to get to a phone.”

The vacant look in Piper’s eyes told him something was not clicking.

“Is there a phone nearby?” he asked, gesturing toward the house.

“A phone?” Piper questioned.

“Yeah, you know, so I can call Triple A and have them fix or tow my car.” For such a beautiful Amish girl, she sure wasn’t very bright, he thought.

“Since I do not know what it is you’re talking about, I am sure there aren’t any around here,” Piper answered.

“Shit,” Nick cursed. “Okay, where’s the nearest non-Amish town?”

“Amish?”

“Jeez, you’re starting to sound like a broken record… no offense.” He paused. “You mean you’re not Amish?”

“I must not be,” Piper answered firmly. “And what are you, may I ask, with your funny clothes?”

“Funny clothes?” Nick rolled his eyes when he realized he was becoming the broken record now. “Listen, I need to get to Saffolk City. You know where that is?”

Piper shook her head. She reached into a pocket in her skirt and pulled out a skin of water and took a drink.

Nick finally realized how thirsty he was. “Okay, then where’s the nearest place I can get a drink?” he said, licking his dry lips.

Piper’s curiosity got the best of her. “Are you from the city, blue eyes?” A blush slowly crept across her cheeks.

“Depends on what city you’re talking about. And my name is Nick, by the way.”

“I am Piper. How do you manage to have such clean teeth for a man?”

Nick was taken aback by her bluntness. “Because I brush and floss? I dunno. Ask my dentist.”

Again, Piper looked confused and Nick was positive that something was wrong. “How ‘bout that drink?” he asked again.

Piper nodded. “Come with me. I will take you to Vengeance.”

“Vengeance? What a name for a town.” Nick smiled.

“You’ll understand once you see the town,” Piper said nonchalantly.



~*~*~*~*~


As they walked into town, Nick complained a few times about the distance and how long they had been walking.

“Whoa, hold on, wait up a sec,” Nick yelled out at Piper. Leaning against a tree, he quickly untied his left tennis shoe and dumped out an adequate amount of reddish sand. Nick squinted as he looked up at Piper. “How much further is this Vengance anyways?”

“About another mile,” Piper replied as she prepared to start walking again.

“We have to be out in the middle of nowhere,” Nick called out as he hopped on one foot to catch her. “I haven’t seen a car since we started walking.”

He quickly slipped his shoe back on. “God, you’re in a big hurry!”

“I need to be back before sunset. I have lots of chores to finish and I do not want Papa to be angry with me,” Piper replied with a hint of annoyance in her voice.

Nick’s pace quickened as he noticed the buildings off in the distance. As they drew closer to the town, he made a list of what he planned on doing once they reached town.

“First, I’m calling Triple A, second, I’m calling Kevin and chewing him out, third I’m gonna find a McDonald’s and grab a burger and fourth, fifth and sixth, shower, eat and sleep in that order.”

Piper grinned at Nick as he made out his inventory. “You are such an odd fellow.”

Nick chuckled. “Fellow? I’ve been called lots of things, but fellow? That’s cool.”

“Cool? Are you sick? It’s terribly warm out today,” Piper replied, a look of concern washed over her face. “I hope you do not get the fever.”

Nick shook his head and laughed her remark off. As they got to the edge of town, his heart skipped a beat.

“Here we are, Vengence,” Piper stated as they walked into the tiny village.

Looking around, Nick could have sworn he stepped onto a sound set from the television show Bonanza except this had a more rustic feel to it. The streets were filled with thick mud, planks laid at different areas for people to cross the street. Horses, wagons and buggies were going up and downt he street in different directions, none of them going in a uniform fashion. Women in long, mud spattered dresses walked swiftly down the sidewalk. Men had ungroomed beards and bad haircuts, walked about doing their business of loading wagons with lumber and sacks of grain and other supplies.

Suddenly Nick felt uncomfortable and out of place in this ancient community. People were pointing their fingers and casting stares at him as they walked past.

“Okay, where can I find a phone?” Nick asked nervously.

Piper stared blankly at Nick. “I told you I do not know what a phone is.”

Nick looked around the town. “Okay, where’s the next city at then?” the desperation was creeping into his voice.

“A days ride west,” Piper replied.

“A days ride?” Nick’s eyes widened. “Don’t tell me, let me guess, on a horse?”

Piper tried to hold back a laugh. “How else would you travel besides onfoot?” she snorted.

Nick could feel the heat rise into his cheeks as he blushed. This was a situation he didn’t understand.

“Okay, isn’t there some other way you Amish travel? Don’t you bum rides off of people to go places?” Nick asked hopefully.

Losing her patience, Piper sighed loudly and started heading towards home. “How many times do I have to tell you? I do not know what you mean by Amish. Is that a family name?”

“Where are you going? You can’t leave me here like this,” Nick begged.

“You may come with me, but please, do not start talking crazy talk or Papa will throw you out of the saloon on your ear,” Piper replied firmly.

“Is there anything to eat there too?” Nick asked, realizing that he was begging to get hungry as well as thirsty.

“I can fix you a supper,” Piper replied. “Now, please, before you say anything to Papa, let me speak to smooth things over or he will throw you out, alright?”

Nick shrugged his shoulders. “I guess, what else do I have to lose?”

Piper smiled and led him into an old ramshackle saloon where an older man was at the bar, wiping glasses. She ran to him and gave him a hug. “Papa, I’m home.”

The man smiled at her, and looked over her shoulder at Nick. “And I see you brought company.”

Piper thought up a good lie. “He’s a runaway from the circus, Papa. They were beating him, so he ran away. He doesn’t have a place to stay or money, or nothing. I was thinking, since not very many rooms are taken, that he could stay here until he can get a job or something. His name is Nick.”

The old man’s expression softened as Piper told her tale. He stepped forward and offered his hand to Nick.

“I’m Evan Foster, Nick, and you are welcome to stay here as long as you like.” He looked the young man up and down. “What sort of tricks is it that you did for the circus?”

Nick gulped down a breath of air. “I… I sing… and dance.”

Mr. Foster laughed. “Singing and dancing, eh? No wonder they beat you. That’s women’s work, that singing and dancing stuff. I bet you don’t even know how to shoot, do ya boy?”

Nick’s face flushed with embarrassment. “Not very well, sir.”

Mr. Foster smiled again, clapping a hand on Nick’s shoulder. “Can you do fix-up work?”

Nick nodded.

“Good. I need a handyman around here. This place has been standing since 1826 just the way it is. Fifty years without anything done to it, and now it’s threatening to fall apart on me. You give me a hand fixing her up and you’re room and board, and meals are free. I’ll even pay you some if you do a good enough job of it.” Mr. Foster turned and headed back to the bar. “Get him a room, Piper, and fix him something to eat. He’s gonna need all the energy he can get.”

~*~*~*~*~

Piper motioned to a door on the far left side of the hallway. “That’s my room. You can have the room right across from it. Papa sleeps at the other end of the hall, by the stairs. You can make yourself comfortable while I make you some supper, and maybe find some suitable clothes for you to wear.”

Nick grabbed her arm before she left, almost knocking her off balance. “This is 1876? You’ve gotta be kidding me. Is this one of those role-playing towns where there’s a theme and everybody has to go with it?”

Piper stared at him, almost afraid. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but yes, this is 1876. Since last year was 1875, this year must be 1876.”

Nick let his hand slide off her arm. “Holy shit,” he said, leaning back against the wall. “How the hell did I travel back in time?” His mind flashed back to when the lightning struck his rental car. “Oh my God, this is nuts. How am I going to get back?”

Piper looked at him skeptically. “You’re from the future?”

Nick nodded. “Swear to God. I’m from the year 2001.”

Piper smirked. “Okay, Nick. You go get some sleep. The sun has baked your brain. While you’re asleep, I’ll fix you some supper.” She opened the door to his room and ushered him inside. “Sleep well now, ya hear?”

updated: 3-14-01



~*~*~*~


The solid wood door softly shut and Nick found himself in a plain room. The bed was small, a thick comforter that appeared to be hand made laid ontop. There was a stand with a pitcher and a big basin setting on it. A huge mirror was in front of the stand and there was a rod with a towel draped over it.

“Okay, this is definately something from Gunsmoke or something,” Nick sighed as he walked over towards the stand.

Taking his ballcap off and tossing it onto the bed, Nick stared at his reflection in the mirror. His face was streaked with dirt and he looked as crappy as he felt. The room was starting to dim as the sun was setting and it was then that he realized that there was only a kerosene lamp available for light once the sun set.

When his stomach growled, Nick remembered something about Piper saying she would be making supper. He grabbed the pitcher of water and poured it into the basin. Instead of sparkling white water flowing from the pitcher, a brownish-tinged water splashed out.


Instead of splashing the water onto his face, Nick took a towel and dipped a corner of it in the water and sponged off the streaks of dirt from his face. After he stuffed the used towel back onto the rack, he went over to the window and attempted to push it up. The wood had swollen in the heat, making it difficult to open. Finally after several shoves, it groaned in protest as it rose.

Laying down diagonally across the small bed, a slight breeze drifted across Nick’s face. The scent of horse manure hung in the air. Nick sneezed in protest as his allergies were starting to kick in for some unexplained reason.

“I’md gonna kill Kebin,” Nick sniffed.

~*~*~*~


Piper hesitated outside of the bedroom door. She found this stranger an odd person but very curiously odd. Her father usually didn’t take to kindly to strangers in Vengence but for some reason he seemed to like Nick. Maybe it was because he could do some of the harder chores that she couldn’t do. Still, there was something intriguing about the blue eyed stranger and Piper was going to try and get to know him before he left.

The first soft knock on the door didn’t produce any response from Nick. Piper clenched her fist up tighter and knocked louder. A sneeze was the response.

Piper cracked the door open slightly.

“Nick?”

“Comed ind,” was the reply.

“Sounds like you caught a nasty cold,” Piper observed as she slowly opened the door and entered.

“Nob, allergies,” Nick sniffed. “Do youb hab kleenex?”

Piper cast a vacant stare back.

Nick sighed. “I neeb to blow my nobe.”

“A hankie? You don’t have a hankie?”

Okay, hankie would be good. “Nob.”

Piper reached into the front pocket of her skirt and pulled out a newly folded linen handkerchief and handed it to Nick. “Honestly, I have never in my life known a man not to have a hankie.”

After Nick finished blowing his nose he sheepishly put the flowered handkerchief into the front pocket in his jeans. “I’ll get this washed and back to you.”

Piper smiled. “Keep it, you probably need it more and besides I have tons more of those.” She set some clothes down the bed. “Here, this was all I could find. I burrowed them from Jonas. I think they’ll fit you.”

Sizing up the faded overalls, Nick laughed. “Okay, you want me to wear these?”

“You can’t go wandering around here naked. Besides, you dress odd and you don’t want people to shun you, do you?”

“Well, where I come from, if I wore this stuff I definately would be shunned,” Nick snorted.

“Just go ahead and get dressed,” Piper replied, a hurt tone in her voice. “I also placed some undergarments under the shirt, I figured you would need those too. Come downstairs after you dress. Supper will be waiting for you.”

With that, Piper quickly turned and closed the door behind her, leaving Nick holding a long sleeved button down shirt with no collar and striped boxer shorts, a white t-shirt and some type of socks.

“Kevin will die.”

~*~*~*~

When he appeared down in the lobby of the saloon, Nick went straight over to Evan, who poured him a drink. Nick smiled appreciatively and downed the drink in one gulp, immediately launching into a coughing fit.

Some of the other men in the bar laughed softly. One man further down the bar smiled and scooted over toward him.

“This your first real drink, kid?” he asked, grinning a toothless grin.

“No, I’ve just never had any of that stuff before,” Nick replied, relieved to find out he could breathe through his nose once again.

“That’s Evan’s own whiskey formula right there,” the man sitting next to him continued. “Little Piper said you were having a problem with your nose, so Evan whipped that up to fix it for ya.”

Nick looked in the direction of the back. “Where is Piper anyway?”

“She’ll be in the back, makin’ you something to eat, I reckon,” Evan said slowly. “You look like you haven’t eaten in ages, or is everybody where you’re from that skinny?”

Nick laughed under his breath. “Where I’m from, mister, the women are so skinny you can see right through ‘em.”

Everyone in the bar laughed at that comment.

“Why don’t you go in the back and get something to eat, Nick, and then we’ll see about some of the chores around here that need to be done,” Evan suggested, returning to cleaning the glasses.

Nick nodded and got up from the bar, making his way around to the back where Piper stood, kneading dough on a table. The entire front of her dress was covered in flour and there were streaks of it across her face and in her hair.

She turned and glared at him when she heard him snickering behind her.

“Your supper ain’t ready yet,” she said icily.

Nick held his hands up in surrender. “Whoa. Easy there, girl. Your old man just told me to come back here. What’s wrong with you?”

Piper picked up the dough and dropped it into a pan, covering it with a towel. She sighed and brushed some of the flour off her dress. “I’m sorry. I guess I just ain’t used to this. I feel like my pa is gonna be trading me in soon because he found someone who is more useful than I am. If you know how to cook, please don’t tell him that or I’ll be out of a job.”

“Don’t worry, Piper. I burn water. You’ll never be out of a job,” Nick joked, sitting on the stool beside the table she was working on.

Piper picked up a plate and a glass and set it in front of him. “There ya go. Dinner’s served,” she said meekly, watching his face as he looked at the food.

Nick studied the plate for a minute before deciding it was edible. He scooped a spoonful of mashed potatoes into his mouth.

“Wow, this is really good. Homemade gravy and everything,” he said with his mouth half-full.

“And that’s fresh mutton too,” Piper said proudly. “Ernie tells me I cook the best meat in all the southwest.”

Nick took a careful bite of the meat and nodded his satisfaction. “This is better than McDonald’s. Man, AJ’s gotta try some of this. He’ll never go back to fast food.”

Piper just looked puzzled, but decided not to ask. Instead she went about her work, cleaning everything while Nick happily ate his food.

“Um, Nick?” she said at last while he finished his potatoes. “Can you tell me… when are you going back?”

Nick shrugged. “I dunno. I don’t even know how I got here. I might even be stuck here forever.” The finality of that statement hit him like a ton of bricks. “Shit, what if I am stuck here forever? I’ll never see my family or the guys or anybody ever again.”

Piper leaned across the table and took his hand in hers. “I’m sorry, Nick. I shouldn’t have brought it up. It will be okay, though. Everything always works out for the best. In the end, it will be okay. I promise.”

~*~*~*~


Depressed by that sudden thought, Nick shoved the plate away from him and then leaned forward, resting his head in his hands.

“You’re all finished? Did you want some peach cobbler?” Piper asked cheerfully as she removed his half finished plate of food.

“No, I’m stuffed as it is Piper, everything was good,” Nick replied. “So what do you guys do for fun at this hour of the day?”

“You really ask silly questions Nick. We go to sleep by 7:30 and I’m guessing by the position of the sun, it’s almost that time now,” Piper stated as she leaned to look out the window.

“You’re joking, right?”

“No, I’m serious. Pa will have you up at 4:30 in the morning for chores, so I would think it would be best that you sleep while you can,” Piper advised. “I will place fresh water and a shaving kit, which I doubt you really need,” she quickly blushed and then turned around, opening the door to the saloon.

“Hey, I shave, what are you talking about?” Nick defended, jumping up to follow her out.

“4:30 comes pretty early Nick, you best go to bed now,” Piper replied, not turning to face him.

Nick sighed as he reluctantly climbed the stairs that led to his bedroom. The whole predicament he was in had to be some sort of psycho dream, he theorized. He entered his room and threw himself onto the bed, his body sinking into the pink satin covered downfilled comforter. It was soft and inviting and soon Nick drifted off into a fitful sleep.

~*~*~*~


The pounding on the heavy wood door, startled Nick awake. He sat upright in his bed, the room was pitch black. He immediately started to feel around for a lamp or a lightswitch.

Not finding one, Nick mumbled outloud. “What the hell kind of dumbass hotel am I in now?”

He stumbled towards the door and threw it open.

“Okay, this is pretty damned rustic looking,” Nick commented to himself. “God, I need to tell Brian about this weird dream I had last night. Okay, where the hell are the damn lights at?”

“Good morning Nick,” Piper called out as she approached the room, carrying a pitcher of water.

The reality of the situation hit Nick hard. “Oh shit, this wasn’t a dream was it?”

Piper set the pitcher on the dressing stand in front of the beveled mirror.

“A dream? What dream?”

“That I got stuck in the 1880’s with no possible way of getting home,” Nick sighed.

“Oh, that. You were talking nonesense yesterday, you must have gotten hurt in the head before I met up with you,” Piper replied. “Here, wash up and then come straight down, Pa needs someone to milk this morning and I have no time for it at all. We have a full house today at the saloon.”

Nick’s head shot up. “Milk? Are you serious?”

“You’re silly, of course milk,” Piper replied. “Now hurry up please. I will be needing the milk for the porridge.” As Nick was trying to get adjusted to the idea of milking a live cow, Piper added another chore to his list. “I also will need you to go fetch eggs from the henhouse too.”

“Figures,” Nick mumbled under his breath.

“What did you say?”

“Nothing, nevermind,” Nick replied as he poured the water out from the pitcher. Instead of sparkling water spilling into the basin, dark,rusty colored water splashed in. “Wonderful, just peachy as all hell.”

~*~*~*~

Nick was in the middle of his chores when he heard a gunshot echo out from the direction of the street. He dropped the half-filled pail of milk and ran toward where a crowd had already gathered.

“What happened?” he asked Piper as she carefully laid a handkerchief over the face of the man on the ground with a bullet hole in his chest.

“Another gunfight. They happen a lot around here. One or two a day, it seems like.” She looked up toward the coroner and he nodded, dragging a ready-made coffin out to where the body laid.

The other man, Sparks, twirled his gun effortlessly and slipped it back in its holster. “What do you think of that, Piper? One shot and he’s dead.”

Piper glared at him, and Nick felt the familiar fingers of dread creeping down his spine.

“I think you’re a spineless coward, Sparks, and just because you’re fast, it doesn’t make you a man. You’re just a scared little boy.” She stood less than a foot away from the older man. “You’re too yellow to kill a man that actually deserves it.”

Sparks pointed his gun directly at Piper’s heart. “You better shut your mouth and learn your place, little girl. A pretty thing such as you belongs in a whore house and I’d be glad to break you in.”

Time seemed to slow as Piper slapped Sparks across the face and there was a loud gunshot. Nick screamed, watching Piper fall.

~*~*~*~

A uniformed officer tapped again on the window of the car, where Nick was sleeping peacefully behind the wheel.

Nick jumped, knocking his hand on the steering column. “Sonofa…!” he turned and saw the cop staring at him expectantly through the window. He grinned sheepishly and painfully rolled it down with his injured hand.

“You okay, son?” the officer asked, gesturing to the large burn mark on the front of the car. “The storm getcha last night?”

Nick blinked a few times and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. “Uh, yeah. Got struck by lightning and it wouldn’t start.” It was just a dream. Thank God. I wasn’t really in the past and Piper didn’t really die.

The officer nodded, looking again at the star-shaped mark in the paint. “Would you and your lady friend like a ride to town to call somebody?”

Nick stared at him, confused. The officer gestured to the back and Nick whirled around to see Piper sleeping peacefully in the back seat. No blood and no bullet hole.

“Looks like you two are late for a re-enactment, am I right?” the cop continued.

Nick nodded, slowly. “Yeah, we are. We’d really appreciate the ride too. Let me just wake her up and we’ll be right there.”

The officer nodded and moved toward his car, radioing for a tow truck to come get the car.

Nick leaned over the seat and gently shook Piper awake. She groaned and slapped his hand away. He laughed and shook her again. Piper slowly opened her eyes and looked around.

“Where are we?” she asked slowly, examining the inside of the car.

“We’re in my time now,” Nick explained. “That cop over there offered us a ride to town, so just act casual and be nice to him, because he’s an officer of the law, and I’ll explain everything later.”

Piper nodded. “Um, Nick?”

Nick looked her in the eyes. “Yeah?”

“Did Sparks really shoot me?”

“That’s what I saw,” Nick said, choking back the lump in his throat. “And I felt like part of me died when I heard that gunshot.”

Piper smiled at him. “So now I’m in your time?”

Nick reached back and opened the door for her. “Yep. And it’s a really great place to be. You’ll see.”

The two of them got out of the car and headed to the patrol car in front of them.

“As long as I’m with you. I bet it will be great,” Piper whispered in Nick’s ear. He turned to her and they both smiled.

THE END