"This is important, Nick! So, so important. The world is literally at stake. I'm really not kidding. People will die. Maybe everyone."
Nick eyed Vincent, watched his bouncing knee, his shaking hands, his ever-reddening face. "Not all the way full."
Nick gave a sharp nod.
"Could you go now? Today?"
"What? Vincent! You're going to have to explain."
"I don't know. Maybe. But we aren't—I don't know."
"Would you try? If the fate of the world was on your shoulders? If you were the only person in all these billions," Vincent waved his arm, "that could save all others, would you try?"
There was no hesitation. "Of course."
"Well, it is."
Nick's eyes got wider and wider as Vincent launched into his story and his plan. Vincent's stomach tumbled downward when he revealed his part in the callous torture of the Atlantians in the name of science. He watched his brother cross his arms as he tried to press into the wall he stood against trying to get away from him, a look of disgust on Nick's face.
"What have you done?" Nick spat at him.
Vincent head fell to his hands. "I don't know! I didn't mean—"
"I'm glad Father died before he saw what you've become!"
A heavy silence filled the air as Vincent silently agreed. Then he said, "You can fix this, brother! You can. Just do what I ask."
"At what cost? I don't know that I will make it there, or back. There have been no human experiments with time travel." Nick gave a sharp, angry laugh. "The chimps don't say much."
"I may be stuck there forever. Away from everyone. Away from Lisa."
Vincent groaned at the mention of his brother's fiance. He'd forgotten all his brother would be risking. "I'll go. Show me how."
"You can't go. You wouldn't know the first thing about what the history, how to act. Besides you look like your dying."
Nick's face turned ashen, and he slid down the wall. For some reason, he had refused to take in that part of the story. His brother was dying. The world was ending. He had to do his part, no matter what it cost him.
Resigned, he said, "Vincent, what you have done, what you all have done. What an evil group of people. I will do my part and hope it works. And if I do make it back here, and everything is alright, I am going to come and beat the crap out of you."
"Please do. I will need it."
"I am beyond angry at you."
Now that his story was done, Vincent let the tears flow. "I know." A round of bitter coughing shook his body, and blood seeped through the cloth mask he wore. His thoughts were becoming cloudy, and Vincent worried about what that meant. People with rabies often lost their reason. He wondered if that was part of this disease.
He looked at his brother, "You need to go, Nick. I'm sorry but there is no time. Like I said, Ian is getting the cure. He will call and meet you. You need to get things ready."
Nick grabbed the antique wooden box their father had made with them from it's tall place on the shelving unit. He threw it into a backpack along with some other items. A map, a compass, a large book and some empty vials. On top of that, Nick crammed clothing, a bit of food and a few water bottles.
He swung the pack onto his back and looked at his brother with a mixture of shock, disgust and sympathy. "I will try to fix this, though God knows how. But if I can't, this is on you. You and all your cohorts."
"Thank you, brother," Vincent said through the cloth mask that covered his face. As he fell to the couch in grief and disgust for himself far greater than his brother felt, he choked out "I'm sorry" around his rough cough. But it didn't matter, his brother was already gone.
Vincent's thoughts became more and more cloudy, more fragmented. He couldn't remember why he was at his brother's house though he remembered it was important. He wondered where his brother was and searched the house to find him.
Vincent threw open the front door and walked outside, pulling away the irritating cloth around his mouth. Why was that there?
A dark-haired man was in the parking lot loading his car with suitcases. Maybe that was Nick.
Vincent walked closer to him, weaving a bit on his feet. The air around him seemed to buzz, irritating him. He came up behind the man and grabbed his shoulder, swinging him around. No. Not Nick.
"Sorry!" Vincent garbled out as he nearly fell on the man.
The man reared back, wiping off some of Vincent's spittle that had landed on his face. "Are you okay? Do you need a doctor?"
Vincent laughed. "I am a doctor."
The man shook his head, thinking Vincent was drunk, and Vincent continued to roam through the parking lot and down the sidewalk.
He coughed again, a deep, rumbling cough that brought up a long string of bloody phlem. He worked his jaw as he remembered that part of this virus was rabies. That seemed right. He was feeling the urge to bite.
A/N: I managed this chapter on my tablet. So at least one is done! :) I hope you enjoyed it!
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Sea Bound (A Sanctuary's Aggression Novel)Science Fiction
#159 on Scifi Hot List. A Golden Pen, Pen and Ink, and Rose Award Winner. In this sci-fi fantasy, Sonora yearns for more than life has given her until the day a shadow becomes a guide to a world she could never have imagined. A new world that offers...