Horizons are tricky. One little slip and you’re down another inch in the world of time. I don’t want to lose that inch just to stupidity nonsense like not calibrating my inch by inch simple horizon portal gun. Just fucking going to jump out there and let you know that horizon jumping is almost as dangerous as eating poison. You make a little inch slip and you can be with dinosaurs about to get crushed or in the future where the earth no longer exists, and you’re there without a spacesuit and oxygen. Dangerous shit falling through time. All about that horizon gun and accuracy.
I slip the safety off the gun gently and glance around for any time police. No need to get caught with one of these babies. I slip my glasses on, an instant blue-green tint. The years flash across the glasses, correlating with the direction the gun is pointing along with a brief description of what I’ll be stepping into.
I pause seeing the year 2403 and Bar fight of 2403 in a small establishment. Between two political parties. “That’ll be a good cover,” I mutter as I steady the point of the gun. With a deep breath, I pull the trigger. Nothing happens for a brief moment and then my arm jerks forward as a large blue light emits from the gun. A buzzing sound fills my ears and I tumble forward into a loud yelling match.
Just as I get my footing on the glass floor a large whiskey bottle smashes above my left ear. It shatters on me, cutting my neck and shoulder slightly. I glance up seeing a large black man wrestling a stocky Asian woman. The two are pulling at each other’s hair and kicking. The woman jerks her arm back and slams her fist into his nose hard. The man pulls away as it lands wincing.
I shake my head at the sight of the two fighting and immediately store both gun and glasses in my side bag. I cinch the clip close to my body and look around. The two aren’t the only two fighting. Another couple fights are going on. One old man with a white beard is reaching into the bar and flinging whatever bottle he gets his hands on at another old man. The two yelling profanities at each other. I swivel around looking for the door out of this establishment. I get the feeling cops will be upon us soon and I don’t need to be caught here.
The door is to the left of me and down a flight of stairs. I can see a few people running toward it as other people start to get into the spirit of the fight. Before I have a chance to run through a hand grabs my shoulder and spins me around. I barely register the hand and shift my head as the large angry Asian woman attacks me. I immediately bring my knee up and hit her square in the stomach. She lurches back slightly but doesn’t loosen her grip. Gritting her teeth she readies for another punch at my face. I lean forward toward her butting my head and glasses against her hard skull. Surprised at the retaliation I feel her fingers release. I quickly swing my left hand at her ear offsetting her balance and twist out of her reach. I don’t look back, sprinting toward the door.
As I push open the heavy metal door more scared bar goers follow my heels. We press out into the light and the edge of a metal balcony. I freeze just a second before I hit the railing and can go overboard into what seems to be miles of nothing below me. Someone presses against me and runs away. The metal door slams loudly behind me. I pause looking out at the view.
There isn’t earth below me but buildings. The lights and metallic dull gray trail beneath me. I roll my head up to see more buildings upon buildings rising above. Where is the damn earth? I ask myself as I strain to see the sky. There is smoke, fog, and smog above me. Cutting into any view I have of the sky. I turn looking for where the person that had used me for traction could have gone. This balcony is a metal railing that goes for miles up and down. I can see people mulling around some of the bridges, going in and out of shops. Everyone casually moving on them.
“Huh,” I say. “I didn’t expect this.”
“Didn’t expect what?” a woman’s voice asks behind me. I twist seeing the Asian woman I had wrestled with in the bar. Her lip is bleeding and bruises are forming on the bottom of her chin and right eye. She sighs walking up beside me to look at the view. I stiffen a little unsure if I’m being lured into another attack. “Don’t worry, fighting is left in the bar. Nice work unbalancing me,” she says leaning up against the railing. She spits a bit of blood out and looks at me again before repeating her question, “Didn’t expect what?”
“The fog,” I lie.
She raises an eyebrow knowing I’m lying. I know immediately that the fog must be constant from her look. “Whatever. You want to grab drinks at the bar on 1078?” she asks.
I grind my teeth, tense.
“Not going to hit you again. I just get a little caught up when arguments get heated,” she says as she extends a hand, “I’m Nola.”
I warily take it. Her hand feels like it’s crushing mine. “I’m Cal.”
“Well Cal, you coming?” she asks taking off down the railing. After a few moments, I follow.
The wind is loud as we walk down the railing. I’m slightly behind her, studying her movements and the strangeness of this time. We reach a little shoddy elevator with a card reader. Nola swipes her card and steps in. I follow her into the cramped excuse for a machine. I’m not even sure it’ll hold our weight. Probably going to plummet to our deaths in this. Nola presses the floor number into the computer and hits enter. It beeps, makes a loud whirring sound, and shoots down at an alarming speed. I have to grab the railing to keep from falling.
Nola simply leans against the wall casually studying me as we fall. My head feels a little woozy from the sudden rush. She grabs a handle just as the elevator shutters to a halt. My knees nearly give out at the sudden stop. The door slip open and she steps out without hesitation. I give my stomach, breath, and blood a moment to catch up before following her.
The view from this lower height makes the buildings seem even bigger. I can’t see anything but buildings around and railings with shoddy elevators. I can’t fathom how we got to this point. The other thing that just occurred to me is that I’ve only seen a few people out. Where are all the people in this massive complex?
“Cal, this way,” Nola says holding open a door. I follow her into a large bar that seems similar to the one we were in before. No one is throwing bottles in this one thankfully. As if to remind me my neck twinges with pain. Nola stalks past the few customers in the building to the back. I follow while investigating. The music is calming and the bartender watches us as we walk over to him.
“Two No-Breaths,” Nola says slipping her card over the reader. It beeps and the bartender busies himself creating the drink. Nola gestures to a cozy table. We take our seats as the drinks come out. The liquid is a dark brown with a red separated jello like substance on top. I raise a brow as Nola picks it up.
She waits as pick it up. “To us,” she says and knocks it back. I swallow and hope my stomach can keep it down as I follow suit. The drink burns my tongue and throat as it goes down. I can feel it go down as I cough. My throat seems to close leaving no room to breathe. I understand where the name comes from and then the painful feeling vanishes as I hack again. Nola chuckles. “So Cal, you a traveler?”
I don’t say anything still gagging on the awful taste of the No-Breath. “What did you come to fix?” she asks casually. I hesitate and study her face.
“Who said I came to fix anything?” I retort feeling the alcohol starting to kick in.
Planning to continue this story later. I’m not sure where it’s going, but I’m interested. I don’t usually write in first-person so this is strange for me, but I’m having fun. We’ll see where this goes.